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Stay Home Inspo: Creativity at Home with Colin King

It is often hard to stay inspired during this difficult time. Things can look bleak – whether you’re reading the news or braving the world outside of your home. San Francisco has lost its charm during the pandemic. Streets are deserted. Businesses are boarded up and graffitied. All the cultural vitality that draws one to a city like this is canceled. If if we wanted to go somewhere….there’s no nowhere to go.

And so we turn inward. Back towards home. If you’ve been looking to scratch a creative itch, this post is for you.

Stay Home Inspo: Colin King on Apt34

As this pandemic has continued, I’ve been sharing #StayHomeInspo on Instagram – a respite for the eyes and inspiration for design ideas and creative projects we can do in our own homes to boost our spirits. One of my primary resources of inspiration has been stylist and photographer Colin King. I discovered Colin’s work on Instagram and have been following his creative journey every since – as he styles editorials ranging from corporate clients like Zara Home, to homes that grace the cover of Architectural Digest. As part of his own #StayHomeInspo journey, Colin started his own hashtag – #StayHomeStillLife chronicling his Covid creative outlet – creating stunning still life vignettes in his Manhattan apartment during New York City’s lockdown. I looked forward to a new image from Colin every day and even though he’s back to work outside his home, I still do.

Colin was gracious enough to share some of his creative tips and tricks with Apt34 today. I hope you find his insights as inspiring as I do.

Q: How did you get started, especially doing still life work? Did you have a mentor? Study something? Or just start experimenting?

A: I’m really good at doing, and not so good at being. Out of all of the careers I’ve had, none of them afforded me the flexibility to work from home. So in an attempt to cope and self soothe, I quickly found comfort in creating still lifes at home. My apartment is small, and there are only so many combinations when it comes to rearranging furniture, so I was forced to think small. It started organically shopping at my favorite decor shop (and the only one that was open) – nature. Foraging quickly led me to taking unrelated, inanimate objects, fruit, and anything else I could find around the house; placing all of that on a clean surface and trying to find an arrangement that felt poetic. The act of creating these still lifes gave me a schedule and presented a challenging, healthy way for me to step away from my screen, disconnect from fear and worry, and just be.

Stay Home Inspo: Creativity at Home with Colin King on Apt34

Q: What would you say are the key components of a captivating still life?

A: For me there are three key components of a captivating still life.

Each still life I create, my goal is to conjure the feeling of being a tourist in someone else’s reality. I never want any of my photos to feel as though you’re on a set or that the elements were contrived specifically for the photo. For example, when I am at a museum or even in someone’s home for an editorial shoot, I am always noting the forgotten corners, the stanchions, the coat rack, the half-drawn closet curtain; these are the places where there was no thought or extra care given to the placement of things – it’s just where everything naturally fell. Every captivating image I’ve seen has this almost eerie element of a human having just been there moving about unapologetically, and what’s left is unstyled but perfectly settled. Ultimately, creating a moment that seems more unearthed than contrived.

When approaching my still life I let go of the practical, intended use of each object. To me, a vase isn’t a vase and a fork isn’t a fork – they’re just things with their own materiality and form. I love it when I see an image and don’t even realize what the objects are until examining closer. Whether it’s upside down, balancing on its side, or completely submerged in a glass of water, there is an irreverence with a nod to surrealism that I love.

Lastly, light. Finding the depth between and beyond the surface the objects are on and how they relate to each other is key. Not only do I want to feel the dimensionality of the image, I also want to use objects that absorb light, reflect light, and bend light arranging them in a poetic display to generate an unexpected conversation.

Stay Home Inspo: Creativity at Home with Colin King on Apt34

Q: Are there any tricks of the trade you regularly rely on (tools, adhesives etc)?

A: No tricks. Just patience and a good playlist. I’ve never used a tool or an adhesive, I recognize I have so much to learn but right now I am having fun shattering glasses, chipping ceramics, cursing under my breath, and the freedom that comes with not being bound by any way of doing it. And music has always been a part of my process. As a trained dancer, music brings me a sense of comfort, routine and ritual while keeping me in the present moment.

Stay Home Inspo: Creativity at Home with Colin King on Apt34Stay Home Inspo: Creativity at Home with Colin King on Apt34

Q: Your photography is also amazing. The way you use light is incredible. Are you self taught? Do you only use your phone and if so what do you use to edit your photos?

A: Aw, thank you. I am completely self-taught and I only use my iPhone. I just looked and I have 143,885 images on my phone. For each still life I create, or any image really, I take anywhere from 20-40 images per set up. It’s practice. it’s repetition, it’s trial and error. It’s like going to the gym and working out. Taking photos is a muscle I’ve been working on since I first got a camera phone in college. I use VSCO and Snapseed to manipulate shadows, contrast, and perspective. We’re all learning from each other. I look to photographers and other creatives I admire and dissect their images, find what I like about them, and then tinker with my own.

I had to let go of the concept that there was the perfect preset or formula for any of my work. No one was going to share a map or rulebook with me, and through a lot of trial and error, I learned that I can’t think my way into being a good photographer or stylist – it’s in the action. I have to use my hands to pick up something tactile – a book to sift through or a couple of objects to arrange. From there I just play, sometimes it’s there and sometimes, I walk away. I get myself into trouble when I wait for inspiration to hit, I have to get up and find it.

Stay Home Inspo: Creativity at Home with Colin King on Apt34Stay Home Inspo: Creativity at Home with Colin King on Apt34

Q:You have a very distinct look. I can recognize your work a mile away. How did you go about cultivating that?

A: Intuition has always been my leader in life. I didn’t know I was cultivating a look – I just kept taking photos of what I liked and using the limited resources I had. Although the aesthetic strands running through my work are pretty consistent, the influences feeding into the design process are typically eclectic and even the most unlikely of subjects can provide food for thought. Simplicity and finding beauty in the mundane interested me. At first, my minimal sensibility came from not having a large portfolio or a lot of pieces to work with. And ultimately, I’ve always admired the edited life – less color, less clutter, and fewer things sustained by purposeful restraint.

Stay Home Inspo: Creativity at Home with Colin King on Apt34Stay Home Inspo: Creativity at Home with Colin King on Apt34

Q: Where do you turn for creative inspiration?

A: I draw my inspiration from other people. I’ve learned to surround myself with people who have something that I want; and challenge me to be more honest, take more risks, and ultimately how to not fear failure. I am energized and encouraged by other people’s victories; the immense joy I get from watching peers succeed gives me hope that I too, can achieve anything I put my mind to.

I am also very inspired by nature – I am in constant awe of what it produces. Nature has a way of humbling me and is a great reminder to abandon the idea of perfect – nothing about nature is linear or symmetrical and nothing is immune to decay.

Stay Home Inspo: Creativity at Home with Colin King on Apt34

Q: What about your work brings you joy?

A: I get to tell stories for a living and that’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. I get to connect with people and help create a context for the intimate rituals of peoples’ lives. And I also get to surrender to the subjectivity of what I do and knowing that the narrative I’ve created will be interpreted differently by each viewer – it challenges me to be vulnerable in a way – it’s all part of being a creative – and I feel grateful to be able to make a living by being creative.

Also, objects that have been given to me or are inherited from a shoot or trip, bring me joy. The handmade pieces in my place, knowing the story and process of the artist brings me joy as well. Ultimately, the smallest object can embody an entire relationship or single experience; they’re tied integrally to memories and can shape the identity of the room.

Q: Your career has been taking off of late. Where do you hope to be in five years?

A: This time has presented irrefutable evidence that I don’t have the power to know where I will be in 5 years. Doing the best at this moment puts me in the best place for the next moment. The saying Time takes time has always been a hard pill for me to swallow, I spent so much of my life wanting to be the fastest, youngest, and the best at everything I did but these unrealistic expectations only brought me pain. Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. Surrendering to the idea that I am exactly where I am supposed to be, going through exactly what I need to be going through, AND being content with that is where I hope to be in 5 years. I am learning that the most important relationship I have is with myself. When that relationship is strong I am a better son, brother, friend, employee and partner.

Colin you are wise beyond your years and talented beyond belief. Thanks to you I’m going to continue to try to improve my foraging skills! f you find Colin as truly inspirational as I do, I hope you’ll give him a follow on Instagram.

What are you doing to stay inspired during this weird time??

For more Stay Home Inspiration, CLICK HERE.

images courtesy of Colin King

The post Stay Home Inspo: Creativity at Home with Colin King appeared first on Apartment34.

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Source: apartment34.com



10 Cities Near Sacramento To Live in 2021

While Southern California often gets a lot of the attention for its coastline and movie stars, Northern California boasts beautiful lakes, state parks, idyllic wine country, mountains and iconic stops. If you choose to live in one of these 10 cities near Sacramento, you’ll be able to take advantage of everything this vibrant capital provides.

All located within 35 miles of the city center, you’re sure to find a great place to call home among the following:

  • Carmichael
  • Rancho Cordova
  • Elk Grove
  • Fair Oaks
  • Davis
  • Citrus Heights
  • Roseville
  • Rocklin
  • Folsom
  • Vacaville

Carmichael

carmichael ca

Photo source: Apartment Guide / Heritage Oaks Apartments
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,232 (down 4.7 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,466 (down 5.0 percent since last year)
  • Distance from downtown Sacramento: 10.6 miles

Just under 20 minutes from downtown Sacramento you’ll find the unincorporated suburb of Carmichael.

Its can’t-be-beat central location makes it a breeze to get to area attractions like the American River, the state capitol, museums and lots of great restaurants.

With Carmichael’s affordability, number of amenities and peaceful vibe, it’s an attractive locale for both single adults and families. Take a picnic to beautiful Ancil Hoffman Park, featuring hiking trails and an award-winning golf course.

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Rancho Cordova

carmichael ca

  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,257 (up 0.7 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,510 (up 3.1 percent since last year)
  • Distance from downtown Sacramento: 14.3 miles

When you reside in Rancho Cordova, you’re a hop, skip and a jump away from all of the fine dining, bars, arts and culture in Sacramento’s downtown area.

Families will love the nearby Sacramento Children’s Museum, where you can have a hands-on learning experience or host a fun birthday party with pals. Or you can opt to splash around at Swanston Park’s interactive water feature.

For a night out on the town, meet friends at the Starlet Lounge at Harlow’s on lively J Street in Sacramento.

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Elk Grove

Elk Grove, CA.

  • One-bedroom average rent: $2,148 (up 8.5 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $2,443 (up 6.3 percent since last year)
  • Distance from downtown Sacramento: 15.2 miles

Travel 20 minutes from downtown Sacramento and you’ll land in the welcoming suburb of Elk Grove.

Offering great schools, a ton of beautiful of parks and a real feeling of community,

Elk Grove is also close to the Delta wine country. Family-owned McConnell Estates Winery has been making vino for two decades on their historic 700-acre property. Stop by for a glass of their popular 6 Gen Zin.

Plan to stay all day at Elk Grove Park, whose lakeside views, ample picnic tables, biking, fishing, dog park and sports fields offer something for everyone. You won’t want to miss the free concerts in the summer.

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Fair Oaks

Fair Oaks, CA.

  • One-bedroom average rent: $2,448 (up 40.4 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $2,274 (up 12.9 percent since last year)
  • Distance from downtown Sacramento: 15.5 miles

If you desire to live in a friendly village where everyone (just might) know your name, Fair Oaks fits the bill. It has the lowest population on the list and offers a short commute if you work in Sacramento.

The Fair Oaks Recreation & Park District puts on many seasonal events like the popular Chicken Festival in the fall and Comedy Under the Stars in the summer. If you can’t wait for the festival, Fair Oaks is known for its wild chickens that roam around town.

Be sure to stop by local fave Sunflower Drive-In for yummy, vegetarian comfort food.

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Davis

Davis, CA.

  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,710 (down 8.4 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $2,092 (down 1.9 percent since last year)
  • Distance from downtown Sacramento: 15.6 miles

Located west of Sacramento and only 15 miles away from the city center, Davis is a compact college town with an abundance of coffee shops, cafes and pubs.

Home to the University of California, Davis, this laid-back city is pedestrian- and bike-friendly, with 60 miles of beautiful greenbelt. Over 50 percent of the population are students, so you shouldn’t have a problem finding someone to share the rent if needed.

The year-round Farmers Market in Central Park is a huge draw. Fresh produce, artisan foods and colorful flowers grace the stalls. Grab a bite from a local food truck and hang out on the large lawn. You won’t earn a degree, but you can choose from a dizzying selection of local craft beers at the University of Beer on 3rd Street.

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Citrus Heights

Citrus Heights, CA.

  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,540 (up 3.0 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,835 (up 4.0 percent since last year)
  • Distance from downtown Sacramento: 16.1 miles

One of the more affordable towns near Sacramento, Citrus Heights is perfect for those who want to spend a little less on rent while still enjoying the perks of being close to a larger city. Residents can shop ’til they drop at Sunrise Mall and dine at popular chains like Texas Roadhouse and Olive Garden.

If you’re looking for a fun, old-school activity, head to Sunrise Rollerland and skate to music on a classic wood floor. For outdoor adventure, Arcade Creek Park Preserve has nearly 10 acres of playground, walking trails and fitness equipment.

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Roseville

Roseville, CA.

  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,759 (up 3.2 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $2,081 (down 0.7 percent since last year)
  • Distance from downtown Sacramento: 19.0 miles

With first-rate schools, parks and so many places to go, it’s no surprise both young professionals and families choose to make Roseville their home.

Job opportunities abound with top companies like Apple, Blue Shield, Intel, CalTrans and Kaiser, all located in Roseville. On your day off, you can spend hours perusing the over 150 stores at the Westfield Galleria at Roseville. Across the street, enjoy unique shops and restaurants at Fountains, an upscale outdoor mall.

You can’t miss the big castle visible from the freeway. People of all ages have a blast going down waterslides, playing mini-golf and celebrating birthdays at Golfland-Sunsplash.

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Rocklin

Rocklin, CA.

Photo source: rocklin.ca.us
  • One-bedroom average rent: $2,028 (up 20.2 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $2,530 (up 18.6 percent since last year)
  • Distance from downtown Sacramento: 21.3 miles

Just 10 minutes past Roseville is Rocklin, about half the size of its larger neighbor but near all of the same awesome attractions.

Rocklin definitely has a young vibe, with the median age of its residents at 37.5 years. Whether you’re on a date, out with friends or looking for an outing with the kids, you’ll have no problem finding something really fun to do.

Trade wine for beer tasting at the many breweries like Moksa Brewing Company on Pacific Street. If a heart-pumping adventure is more your speed, Quarry Park Adventures has zip lines, rock climbing and a 60-foot descending rappel.

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Folsom

Folsom, CA.

  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,820 (up 4.7 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $2,206 (up 5.8 percent since last year)
  • Distance from downtown Sacramento: 21.6 miles

Two words come to mind when we think of Folsom: charm and water.

Charm, because the historic district or “Old Town” has a Gold Rush history and boasts over 80 antique stores, mom and pop shops and quaint cafes.

Water, because of its two lakes, Folsom and Natoma, as well as the nearby American River. From kayaking to fishing, your aquatic needs will surely be met.

Head east on Highway 50, and before you know it, you’ll be enjoying the Amador wine country. Here you can enjoy a Napa Valley-like experience without the price tag.

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Vacaville

Vacaville, CA.

  • One-bedroom average rent: $2,051 (up 12.1 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $2,324 (up 14.9 percent since last year)
  • Distance from downtown Sacramento: 34.8 miles

Vacaville is the furthest from Sacramento on our list, but this pleasant city deserves careful consideration. Located off the busy Interstate 80 corridor between Sacramento and San Francisco, family-focused Vacaville boasts rolling hills and tranquil countryside along with abundant dining and shopping options.

Home to the iconic Nut Tree road stop where you’ll find your favorite retail stores, cafes and an amusement area complete with the beloved Nut Tree train. If you still have the energy to shop, the Vacaville Premium Outlets are a stone’s throw away.

Kaiser Permanente and biotech giant Genentech employ many residents. This suburban gem gets high marks for schools, public transportation and outdoor activities.

You can stroll around the idyllic Lagoon Valley Park, featuring miles of biking, hiking and equestrian trails. Be sure to bring Fido to the large dog enclosure made just for him.

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Best places to live near Sacramento

You have a lot of appealing apartment options to contemplate for a move to a city near Sacramento. Affordable housing, attractive amenities like shopping, dining, and outdoor recreation and employment opportunities are all available in this energetic and diverse area.

When you do your homework, you’ll discover each of these towns offers something special.

Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom apartments in April 2021. Our team uses a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

The post 10 Cities Near Sacramento To Live in 2021 appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

Source: apartmentguide.com



The Best Neighborhoods in Salt Lake City

One of the most family-friendly cities in the west, Salt Lake City has more to offer than many might think. While it’s not an extremely large city, it’s definitely not small — and it’s growing. A lot.

It’s slowly becoming a new hub for tech companies, creating an abundance of jobs and drawing in the crowds from out of state. Although people are coming in droves, rent prices went down last year and you can typically find a one-bedroom apartment for between $1,200 and $1,300.

With prices like that, there’s no better time than now to find the perfect neighborhood for you in Salt Lake City.

Sugarhouse

Sugarhouse in Salt Lake City.

Photo source: Apartment Guide / 21 and View

Sugarhouse offers the best of everything — a quaint suburban feel, lots of fun, independently-owned restaurants and it radiates an eclectic feeling. Not to mention that it’s near the mouth of Parley’s Canyon, making it easy to find hikes nearby or hitting the slopes in Park City.

It’s also a really safe area, which is why there are so many people always looking to move to Sugarhouse. There are many parks, notably Sugarhouse park, which has plenty of wide-open grass fields, pavilions for public use, basketball courts and a pond.

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The Avenues

The Avenues in Salt Lake City.

The Avenues is a fairly affluent area — home to lots of historic buildings and houses built in the 1920s and 1930s. Although it’s a little more expensive here, it’s for good reason.

It has the old charm, but with new, vibrant residents that have given new life to the neighborhood over the last decade or so.

The neighborhood is safe and beautiful and it’s easy to walk to restaurants and shops in the area.

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Downtown

Salt Lake City.

Downtown is right in the middle of everything — it’s truly the heart of Salt Lake City. There’s a good mix of the old and the new, with historical sites and beautiful architecture.

There’s also lots to see and do, whether you’re wanting to try a great restaurant or shop at the massive City Creek shopping center.

You can walk most places, but you’ve also got the TRAX and FrontRunner trains that not only will get you around downtown but will get you to other outlying parts of the valley quickly (and you don’t have to deal with the traffic).

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Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill in Salt Lake City.

The area surrounding the state capitol building, fittingly named Capitol Hill, is one of the most desirable neighborhoods. Not too far from downtown, you are in close proximity to endless entertainment.

As noted by the name, it’s right on top of a hill, which overlooks the entire Salt Lake valley for some of the best views you can get. Furthermore, one of the favorite local activities every year is strolling through the cherry blossom trees that line the capitol building.

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Yalecrest

Yalecrest in Salt Lake City.

Photo source: Apartment Guide / the New Broadmoore

Safe, diverse and historic are three words that perfectly describe Yalecrest. Here, you’ll find incredible homes — many larger Tudor-style homes that make you feel like you’re in another century.

You’re right by many trendy restaurants and food markets, not to mention you’ve got both Sugar House Park and Liberty Park nearby.

A simple neighborhood walk through Yalecrest is a treat — the mature landscaping and exposed wood beams on homes never grow boring.

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Wasatch Hollow

Wasatch Hollow salt lake city

Photo source: Redfin / 1838 E Kensington Ave

Wasatch Hollow feels like many other city suburbs. It’s quiet and fairly safe but has a diverse crowd of residents to set it apart from other neighborhoods.

Many young families are settling down in the area since it’s close to grocery stores and good schools. While it’s not quite Yalecrest, full of beautiful Tudor-style homes — it’s pretty close to it with fully matured tree-lined streets and well-kept homes.

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Central City

Central City in Salt Lake City.

In Central City, you’re about as close to Downtown as you can get without actually being downtown. The age of the area is easily noticed — but in a good way.

Expect a mixture of old historic homes from different times and architectural periods and lots of restaurants with decades of history, along with newer bars and coffee shops.

The area attracts lots of young professionals who work downtown and don’t mind having a little less square footage to live in. Even with the smaller living quarters, the distinct indie vibe of Central City is well worth it if you’re looking for an interesting day-to-day life.

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Rose Park

Rose Park in Salt Lake.

While it didn’t always have a great reputation, Rose Park is now an up-and-coming neighborhood. It’s a fairly peaceful and quiet area that’s seeing a revival — more and more people are flocking to it.

Couples and young families are turning Rose Park into a more youthful area. More restaurants are opening up to accommodate the crowds.

Soon, it’s expected that the area will be one of the most lively in the valley.

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East Bench

East Bench in Salt Lake City.

Settled into the hills of the mountains to the east of the Salt Lake valley, you’ll find East Bench. This neighborhood is full of single-family homes and well-established, older residents.

Most of the homes are large and spacious here — unlike many other neighborhoods in the lower valley with smaller and tightly packed streets.

There are no grocery stores or shopping centers in the actual East Bench neighborhood, but there’s plenty nearby, — so you’re not missing out on anything important.

Despite being further from local amenities, the view from the neighborhood is an exceptional one.

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Poplar Grove

Poplar Grove in Salt Lake City.

Photo source: Apartment Guide / Cornell Street Apartments

One of the larger neighborhoods within Salt Lake City, Poplar Grove lies just east of downtown. And like some of the other neighborhoods, it’s been given new life in recent years.

It’s maintained a diverse demographic throughout the years, which is part of what makes the neighborhood great. Being so close to downtown means there’s no shortage of things to do, restaurants to eat at and shopping spots to explore!

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People’s Freeway

People

In People’s Freeway, you’ll find it’s full of laid-back restaurants and activities. Smith’s Ballpark is in the neighborhood, where you can catch Salt Lake’s minor league baseball team, the Bees.

Most residents in this area live in apartments or condos, which have drawn in more young professionals and young couples, rather than full families. And the neighborhood caters to those young professionals and couples — with plenty of chill bars and affordable restaurants around, it’s easy to meet new people in the same stage of life.

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Fairpark

Fairpark in Salt Lake City.

Fairpark, given its name for the fairgrounds in this neighborhood, is a truly eclectic area of Salt Lake.

Full of great ethnic cuisine, Fairpark offers up some of the best Mexican and Asian restaurants in the city. Furthermore, if you’re one who likes to cook cultural foods at home — there is a surplus of ethnic markets so you can buy anything you need for authentic dishes.

Fairpark is close to downtown, but a bit quieter. You still feel like you’re in the city but in a lesser-known part. You’re far from the hustle and bustle of the big city and can explore this hidden gem of a neighborhood in peace.

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Liberty Wells

Liberty Wells in Salt Lake City.

Full of restaurants, coffee shops and bars — the Liberty Wells neighborhood attracts some of the most interesting, eccentric people in the valley. Most are young professionals, so it’s no wonder the area maintains a vibrant atmosphere.

There’s not too much traffic and you can walk most places in Liberty Wells. Local businesses offer everything from handmade postcards to imported cheese — you’re always bound to find something interesting and unexpected around every corner.

If you’re wanting to meet new people, this is one of the friendliest neighborhoods where you can grab a drink and chat with almost anyone.

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Bonneville Hills

Bonneville Hills in Salt Lake City.

Bonneville Hills is your typical suburb — quiet, safe and beautiful in its own right.

With great K-12 schools in the area and the University of Utah close by, lots of families, college students and young professionals enjoy living in the neighborhood.

There are parks around every corner and you’re minutes away from many hikes and canyons, so there’s no shortage of outdoor activities right outside your front door.

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Glendale

Glendale in Salt Lake City.

Established during World War II, Glendale is one of the friendliest neighborhoods you’ll find. Its close sense of community attracts families and couples looking to settle down for a while.

With such an engaging community, Glendale brings in plenty of diversity, blending together Hispanic, Polynesian and Native American cultures — along with many others.

Plus, it’s one of the more affordable areas close to downtown, which certainly doesn’t hurt.

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Which Salt Lake City neighborhood is best for you?

There are so many wonderful neighborhoods in Salt Lake City, it’s hard to choose where to live. No matter which neighborhood draws you in, you’re sure to find that Salt Lake is a wonderful, diverse city that you’ll fit into quickly.

So check out Salt Lake City apartments to rent or homes to buy to get started with your move!

The post The Best Neighborhoods in Salt Lake City appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

Source: apartmentguide.com



10 Cities Near Denver To Live in 2021

City living isn’t for everyone. Though Denver is a hotbed for growth, some people find the accompanying traffic, congestion, noise and fast pace unappealing. Yet, the allure of a major airport, thriving economy and vast array of entertainment options mean that some people would like to enjoy Denver without becoming a resident.

Fortunately, plenty of great cities near Denver abound that combine access to its amenities without the downsides. Listed from closest to farthest, here are some of our favorite non-Denver places to live — all within 30 miles of downtown.

  • Westminster
  • Arvada
  • Aurora
  • Greenwood Village
  • Centennial
  • Golden
  • Lone Tree
  • Parker
  • Boulder
  • Castle Rock

Westminster

Westminster, CO.

  • Distance from downtown Denver: 9.0 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,914 (up 8.5 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $2,470 (up 11.5 percent since last year)

Westminster is an incredibly family-friendly suburb to the northwest of Denver. It’s not quite the halfway point between Denver and Boulder, but considering traffic, it can feel like the midpoint. The best of both worlds is at Westminster residents’ fingertips.

A 15-minute trip to downtown Denver via the light rail makes this an easy choice for commuters. Plus, there are endless ways to have a good time in the area. Water World, one of the city’s best-loved water parks, is nearby for family outings, and so is the Butterfly Pavilion, an invertebrate zoo and conservation institution.

Standley Lake promises a ton of summer fun for paddle boaters, kayakers and canoe fanatics. Plenty of hiking and biking trails are available, and Boulder is just half an hour away for more breathtaking mountain views.

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Arvada

Arvada, CO.

  • Distance from downtown Denver: 9.4 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,520 (up 10.2 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,850 (up 3.5 percent since last year)

Hanging out in Denver’s northwest corner is a historical suburb known as Arvada. Olde Town Arvada has recently turned into a trendy gathering place for people who like to shop and drink local beer.

The local shops and restaurants make this suburb feel less suburban. The Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities is making a name for itself in the world of Denver-metro theater, and it offers classes, boasts a history museum and has an outdoor amphitheater with space for 1,200 attendees.

Arvada is an excellent place to live if you’ll be commuting downtown. You can hop on the light rail from Olde Town and be there in 20 minutes.

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Aurora

aurora co

  • Distance from downtown Denver: 9.6 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,458 (down 5.8 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,708 (down 6.3 percent since last year)

Straight east from Denver, you’ll find Aurora, a place that bills itself as the safest large city in Colorado.

One of the most populous places in Colorado, Aurora is also a sprawling community. Due to its size, the neighborhoods vary widely, but they have one thing in common: reasonable prices.

Living in Aurora provides easy access to the city. Many neighborhoods in Aurora offer a quick commute to Denver via the light rail.

Plus, the Aurora Reservoir and Cherry Creek State Park are nearby, which provide limitless fun for boaters, scuba enthusiasts and people who like to fish or paddleboard.

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Greenwood Village

greenwood village, co

  • Distance from downtown Denver: 10.5 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $2,046 (up 15.5 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $2,611 (up 25.7 percent since last year)

Tree-lined streets and pristine parks are the marks of this upscale suburb located south of Denver. The commute times here are low, and the incomes are high. That’s because Greenwood Village encompasses the Denver Tech Center, a booming economic center that is a magnet for young professionals, families, older couples and entrepreneurs alike.

Greenwood Village is pricey, but many people consider it worth the cost because of the convenience.

The living is good in Greenwood Village, a place where the schools are competitive, the neighborhoods are quiet and the lawns are neatly manicured. While it lacks nightlife, the city is just a quick trip away from Denver via the light rail for those who want to paint the town.

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Centennial

Centennial, CO.

Photo source: City of Centennial
  • Distance from downtown Denver: 14.9 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,842 (up 3.4 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $2,441 (up 12.2 percent since last year)

Centennial is a suburb just south of Denver that runs east to west. Plenty of golf courses, hiking and biking trails and family fun pavilions are available here. Water parks, indoor ski areas and open-air shopping areas are easy to find.

Centennial is home to great schools, more space and a slower pace compared with Denver.

Centennial offers affordability and a commute that’s not too bad whether you plan to work in the Denver Tech Center or downtown Denver. Plus, this suburb has its own airport, a handy amenity for frequent flyers.

Young families and professionals alike will enjoy the modernity and friendly feel.

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Golden

Golden, CO.

  • Distance from downtown Denver: 15.9 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $2,624 (up 8.4 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $2,966 (up 3.6 percent since last year)

Just to the west of Denver sits Golden, the last place you pass on Highway 6 before it’s clear you’re not in the city anymore. Golden serves as the gatekeeper between city life and rural mountain views, and that comes with a heftier price tag than the average cost of rent in Denver.

This picturesque town feels like a little mountain town, and yet it’s still a place where downtown Denver is accessible by the light rail in under 40 minutes.

Yes, Golden is small, but it’s already making a name for itself in the Colorado dining scene. Here, you can expect charming mountain views, golf clubs galore and craft breweries.

You can also anticipate fun for the kids with offerings including Dinosaur Ridge trail with dig areas, the Colorado Railroad Museum, aquatic parks and more.

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Lone Tree

Lone Tree, CO.

Photo source: City of Lone Tree Government / Facebook
  • Distance from downtown Denver: 20 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,810 (up 11.3 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $2,537 (up 17.1 percent since last year)

Lone Tree is a newer suburb, but it has already become known as a haven for shoppers. It’s also the last stop on your way south out of Denver.

The Park Meadows Mall is a stylish shopping center, and there are plenty of dining options, ranging from casual to the dress-code enforced. The light rail extends to the Lone Tree city center and will get you downtown Denver in about 45 minutes. If you need to drive, you’re just a stone’s throw from Interstate 25.

People who move to Lone Tree love the mountain views, the parks with hiking, biking and horseback riding trails and the golf.

The schools here are good, making Lone Tree a hotspot for families who don’t want to deal with Denver’s nonstop activity.

What you miss in independent mom and pop shops, you make up for with affordability. Spacious yards are also a draw for people with pets and those who prefer wide-open spaces.

A local arts center completes the town and leaves it feeling less like a suburb and more like an escape.

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Parker

Parker, CO.

Photo source: Town of Parker, Colorado / Facebook
  • Distance from downtown Denver: 24.2 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,705 (up 6.3 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,994 (up 5.8 percent since last year)

Parker is a microcosm of Colorado. It feels like part mountain retreat, part rural small town and part city, which is to say that Parker has it all.

With a cute downtown bustling with restaurants, shops and events, Parker has plenty to do and see all on its own. It feels incredibly removed from Denver, and you can’t get downtown on the light rail. Yet the draw of Parker, for many residents, seems to override the commute.

Ideal for anyone who prefers safety and peace to action and adventure, Parker is still somewhat of a hidden gem. It’s safe, quiet and pretty, plus the schools are top-notch, making this an ideal spot for families.

Denver remains somewhat close by, but the city rush is nowhere in sight.

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Boulder

Boulder, CO.

  • Distance from downtown Denver: 27.3 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $2,392 (down 3.2 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $2,584 (down 17.8 percent since last year)

Boulder is a dazzling college town with scenery so enchanting that you won’t feel like you’re within 30 miles of Denver. And yet, the Mile High City is close enough that many people make the commute.

If you have pets, love to hike and enjoy beer, you will immediately feel at home in Boulder.

Bars that sling cheap beers for college students and fine dining restaurants with astounding views live happily side by side in this area.

Boulder has a lot to offer, but it is pricey. If you can afford it, though, Boulder will repay you with excellent schools, hiking trails that never cease to amaze, first-rate dining options and unbeatable people-watching opportunities.

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Castle Rock

Castle Rock, CO.

  • Distance from downtown Denver: 29.3 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,599 (up 4.3 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $2,008 (up 8.3 percent since last year)

Castle Rock is south of the Denver-metro area and sits roughly 40 miles north of Colorado Springs. This smaller city is an ideal place for people raising families, and it boasts outlet shops, spectacular views and attractive neighborhoods.

Golfing, an open-air ice-skating rink and trails and parks make Castle Rock an ideal location for someone who needs the trifecta of outdoor recreation, proximity to Denver and a small-town feel.

Castle Rock will entail a more difficult trek to Denver, as it lies outside the light rail’s reach. Plan on long commutes whether you head north or south since this city sits in a perpetually overcrowded neck of I-25.

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Make one of these cities near Denver your next home

Denver is not the only place that makes the Centennial State a great place to live. Living around the Front Range, you are likely to find the perfect combination of affordability, recreation and friendly locals.

Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom apartments in April 2021. Our team uses a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

The post 10 Cities Near Denver To Live in 2021 appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

Source: apartmentguide.com



10 Cities Near Tampa To Live in 2021

From its year-round sunshine to its annual Gasparilla Pirate Festival, there are tons of reasons to love living in Tampa. However, apartments in some neighborhoods don’t come cheap.

Fortunately, you don’t need to live in the Big Guava to enjoy everything it has to offer. There are lots of cities near Tampa that provide easy access to all the region’s amenities and attractions while maintaining a unique charm of their own.

So, before you commit to leasing an apartment in Tampa, you might want to consider these 10 alternative towns instead, all within 50 miles of downtown:

  • Temple Terrace
  • Largo
  • Clearwater
  • Palm Harbor
  • Plant City
  • Tarpon Springs
  • Lakeland
  • Dade City
  • Bradenton
  • Spring Hill

Temple Terrace

Temple Terrace, FL.

  • Distance from downtown Tampa: 9.6 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,075 (down 14.1 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,101 (down 25.6 percent since last year)

For renters who want to enjoy the Tampa lifestyle and save some money in the process, Temple Terrace is the perfect option.

This affordable town is just a hop, skip and a jump from Tampa. In normal traffic, you can get from your front door to the Amalie Arena or the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in around 20 minutes.

Of course, residents don’t have to leave Temple Terrace to find things to do. This Hillsborough County city features tons of amenities, including the Claw (an 18-hole golf course) and Temple Crest Park.

Temple Terrace is also an ideal spot for college students in need of an off-campus apartment. The University of South Florida is just a few minutes away by car, bike or bus.

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Largo

Largo, FL, one of the cities near tampa

Photo source: City of Largo / Facebook
  • Distance from downtown Tampa: 22.9 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,222 (up 5.6 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,409 (down 4.6 percent since last year)

Largo is the third-largest city in Pinellas County, which means endless amenities and attractions for the whole family. History buffs will enjoy the Pinellas County Heritage Village, naturists will appreciate John S. Taylor Park and everyone will have fun at the Highland Family Aquatic Center.

If you have kids (or are planning to start a family in the near future), you will also be excited to know that Largo is close to some excellent elementary schools. Curtis Fundamental Elementary School and Pasadena Fundamental Elementary School both receive 10/10 grades from Great Schools.

Should you choose to move to Largo, you will also be just a short drive away from some of the nation’s best beaches including Indian Rocks Beach and Belleair Beach.

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Clearwater

Clearwater, FL.

  • Distance from downtown Tampa: 23.0 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,295 (up 1.4 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,550 (up 4.9 percent since last year)

No list of cities near Tampa would be complete without mentioning Clearwater.

This coastal burg is one of the best places to live in the Tampa Bay area. Its picturesque beaches and trendy bars offer renters a uniquely fun and relaxed lifestyle.

This Pinellas County city is also an ideal spot for young professionals. Companies like Tech Data, BayCare Health System and the Suncoast Hospice Foundation have sizable footprints in the area and are always searching for new talent.

Clearwater is the most walkable city on this list. So, if you enjoy taking a stroll with your family in the evenings — it may just be the ideal place for you to rent your next apartment.

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Palm Harbor

Palm Harbor, FL, one of the cities near tampa

  • Distance from downtown Tampa: 24.0 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,235 (down 1.2 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,466 (down 2.3 percent since last year)

Renters who want to move to Pinellas County, but would prefer somewhere a little quieter than Clearwater or Largo, are sure to love Palm Harbor. This town is almost entirely residential, save for a few charming golf courses.

The real beauty of this city is its location. A short drive can get you to a wide variety of stunning parks, beaches and recreation areas. And just 30 minutes in the car will get you to Tampa International Airport and Raymond James Stadium.

If you decide to move to this quaint burg, you can’t miss the Taste of Palm Harbor festival in October. This annual event offers you the chance to try a plethora of delicious foods and drinks made by dozens of local eateries.

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Plant City

Plant City, FL.

Photo source: City of Plant City / Facebook
  • Distance from downtown Tampa: 24.6 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $913 (up 6.1 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,160 (up 9.5 percent since last year)

Plant City is just off Interstate 4, which makes it a breeze to get from this small town to the heart of downtown Tampa. For most residents, this drive should take no more than 30 to 40 minutes.

Convenient commuting isn’t the only reason to live in Plant City, though. This historic burg also offers a large number of breweries, bars and restaurants. It is even home to the Keel and Curley Winery.

However, without question, the Florida Strawberry Festival is the main attraction in Plant City. This annual event lasts 11 days and features scores of rides, art exhibits and dining options.

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Tarpon Springs

Tarpon Springs, FL, one of the cities near tampa

Photo source: City of Tarpon Springs, FL City Hall / Facebook
  • Distance from downtown Tampa: 28.0 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $931 (up 2.6 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,087 (up 3.5 percent since last year)

Tarpon Springs might be home to just 25,577 residents, but it boasts the highest percentage of Greek Americans of any city in the United States. As such, this picturesque town’s culture is quite similar to that of a small village in Greece.

Each year, Tarpon Springs hosts an Epiphany celebration in which kids go diving for a cross, and the local priest blesses the waters and the boats. The event attracts visitors from throughout the United States and abroad.

Of course, you don’t have to enjoy Greek culture to love living in Tarpon Springs. The city also features lots of parks, bars and recreation areas.

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Lakeland

Lakeland, FL.

  • Distance from downtown Tampa: 35.5 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,138 (up 10.1 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,328 (up 1.9 percent since last year)

Lakeland is the largest city in Polk County. It is best known for its abundance of quaint antique shops and early 20th-century architecture. These features give it a look and feel that is unlike that of any other city in Florida.

This unique locale is perfect for families. It offers tons of recreation areas as well as some of the best schools in the area. Lincoln Avenue Academy is particularly popular with local parents.

Because it is on Interstate 4, Lakeland residents also enjoy easy commuting in and out of Tampa. In normal traffic, the journey takes around 45 minutes.

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Dade City

Dade City, FL, one of the cities near tampa

Photo source: City of Dade City, FL / Facebook
  • Distance from downtown Tampa: 38.4 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,147 (up 6.0 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,308 (up 3.7 percent since last year)

Dade City is the county seat of Pasco County. By population, it is the smallest town on this list. As a result, it is also one of the quietest and most family-friendly.

Though Florida is generally quite flat, Dade City features a collection of rolling hills that offer residents some stunning views from their apartment balconies.

Like most cities near Tampa, Dade City offers an abundance of green space for renters to enjoy. Dade City Dog Park is especially popular with people who want to help their canine companions make new friends.

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Bradenton

Bradenton, FL.

  • Distance from downtown Tampa: 45.6 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,331 (up 8.7 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,573 (up 10.5 percent since last year)

At just 14.18 square miles, Bradenton is the smallest city on this list. However, it packs a lot of amenities into its limited space. This Manatee County town offers residents a baseball stadium, a science and nature museum and a performing arts center.

There are lots of job opportunities in Bradenton, especially in the healthcare sector. Companies like HCA Healthcare, HealthMarkets and Universal Health Services have offices in the region and regularly hire new employees.

Should you decide to rent an apartment in Bradenton, you will also have beaches like Longboat Key and Anna Maria Island just a stone’s throw from your front door.

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Spring Hill

Spring Hill, FL, one of the cities near tampa

  • Distance from downtown Tampa: 47 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $904 (up 1.0 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,359 (up 45.0 percent since last year)

Spring Hill is undoubtedly one of the most affordable cities near Tampa. With one-bedroom units averaging $904 per month in this Hernando County town, you’ll have a tough time finding better value for money anywhere in Central Florida.

Its low cost of living isn’t the only thing that brings renters to Spring Hill, though. This charming city features a wildlife sanctuary, an adventure park and a country club. It is also just a short drive to the world-renowned Weeki Wachee Springs State Park.

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Make one of these cities near Tampa your next home

Don’t delay. Find your home in one of these cities near Tampa with Apartment Guide today.

Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom apartments in April 2021. Our team uses a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

The post 10 Cities Near Tampa To Live in 2021 appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

Source: apartmentguide.com



Everything You Need for Your Kitchen & Nothing More

Kitchens. They’re amazing spaces. They can be visually stunning. They must be total workhorses. They’re quite often the heart of the home. But they can also accumulate a lot of CRAP.

As I work to not only design but also fully outfit the kitchen for the Hood Canal Cottage, I’m starting completely from scratch. No hand-me-down casserole dishes, no knives I’ve carted around since college, no random herb scissors that I’ve never ever used. For once, I get to hand-select every tool and every object that comes into the space.

With that total blank slate, I find myself often thinking (ok, obsessing) about what I want this kitchen to have. As an avid cook, as we probably all are coming through Covid, I want kitchen tools that are really pretty, but also highly functional. And nothing else.

This kitchen, designed by Our Food Stories out of a refurbished old schoolhouse in the middle of the German countryside, is a total mood. Featuring deVol kitchen cupboards, tiles, shelves, light fixtures, hardware and more. This kitchen is certainly a showcase for the many of the pieces on my list of must-have kitchen tools – and of course, it does so beautifully.

This space immediately transports you to an idyllic rural retreat. I imagine walking through overgrown gardens, picking fresh roses and making multi-course Sunday lunches here.

I love how this kitchen keeps so many key kitchen tools close at hand. While I might not be doing quite as many open shelves at Hood Canal, there is a lot to be said for having key tools within arms reach.

There’s nothing that drives me crazier than a poorly outfitted kitchen. But an overcrowded kitchen can be equally crazy-making. You have to strike that balance.

For me, the key kitchen tools I turn to time and again include one good set of pots and pans, a cast iron skillet, a good set of wooden spoons and spatulas, a top notch cutting board (or several) and then all those little tools that you need when you’re in the middle of pulling together a recipe – measuring cups, knives, peelers, strainers, graters, zesters – all the speciality things that let you add the finer components of a dish.

Those speciality tools are the kinds of things that far too many kitchens lack. Or they’re the big bulky OXOX ones you get at a grocery store that feel chunky in my hand and will just clog up my limited drawer space in the new kitchen. She gonna be cute, but she’s not going to be big.

As the weeks have progressed, I’ve been slowly but surely amassing my ultimate kitchen wish-list. Each kitchen tool, appliance, or serving piece needs to have a very critical purpose and look damn good while doing it.

I thought I’d share my wishlist with you. It’s certainly not comprehensive. As I cook every evening some other thing in my San Francisco kitchen makes me think oh yes, I have to find the beautiful version of this for Hood Canal. But all the extraneous stuff I have in my SF kitchen also makes me want to pull my hair out. I’m constantly digging for my one favorite knife or pan or bowl.

I hope you find something below you’ve been searching for. If you spot a key kitchen tool that I’m still missing, please tell me in comments! I consider my ultimate quest to outfit the ideal kitchen.

I’m also regularly adding favorites for the kitchen in the Apartment 34 SHOP so be sure to check it out too!

SHOP KITCHEN ESSENTIALS

kitchen fundamentals Shop now nordic kitchen frying pan Shop now citrus press Shop now stainless steel sauce pan Shop now balmuda toaster Shop now black carbon steel knife Shop now cast iron casserole Shop now ceramic mixing bowls Shop now brewer stand set Shop now cleaning essentials Shop now Linen Tea Towel Set Shop now skagerak paper towel holder Shop now round cutting board Shop now ceramic french press Shop now mandoline Shop now modern salad spinner Shop now measuring cups Shop now farmhouse pottery board & bow set Shop now sheldon ceramics bowl Shop now lidded bowls – set of 3 Shop now evermill spice rack Shop now baking sheets Shop now glass water kettle Shop now cooking essentials Shop now kale razor and herb stripping tool Shop now pasta machine Shop now stainless steel citrus juicer Shop now Japanese vegetable peeler Shop now hand carved serving spoons Shop now hurom juicer Shop now

all images by Our Food Stories

The post Everything You Need for Your Kitchen & Nothing More appeared first on Apartment34.

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Source: apartment34.com



The Best Student Loan Companies For Refinancing

Refinancing your student loans can make good financial sense, and that’s especially true if your current loans are stuck at a high-interest rate. With a new loan at a lower APR, you could save a bundle of money on interest each month and ultimately pay your student debt off faster. Consolidating several loans into one new one can also simplify your financial life and make keeping up with bills a lot easier.

College Ave and Earnest topped our list, but since student loan refinancing is an incredibly competitive space, you’ll also want to spend time comparing student loan companies to see who offers the best deal. Many lenders in this space offer incredibly low APRs, flexible payment options, borrower incentives, and more. This means it’s more important than ever to shop around so you wind up with the best student loan for your needs.

What You Should Know About Refinancing Federal Student Loans with a Private Lender

The lenders on this list can help you consolidate and refinance both federal student loans and private student loans. However, there are a few details to be aware of before you refinance federal loans with a private lender.

Switching federal loans to private means giving up federal protections like deferment and forbearance. You also give up your chance to qualify for income-driven repayment plans like Pay As You Earn (PAYE) or Income Based Repayment (IBR). Income-driven repayment plans let you pay a percentage of your discretionary income for 20 to 25 years before ultimately forgiving your remaining loan balances, so this perk isn’t one you should give up without careful thought and consideration.

Best Student Loan Refinancing Companies of 2021

As you start your search to find the best student loan for your lifestyle, take the time to compare lenders and all they offer their customers. While there are a ton of reputable companies offering high-quality student loan refinancing products on the market today, there are also companies you should probably steer clear of.

To make your search easier, we took the time to compare most of the top lenders in this space in terms of interest rates offered, fees, borrower benefits, and more. The following student loan companies are the cream of the crop, so you should start your search here.

Our Top Picks:

  1. Splash Financial
  2. College Ave
  3. Earnest
  4. SoFi
  5. CommonBond
  6. LendKey
  7. Wells Fargo
  8. PenFed Credit Union

Student Loan Refinancing Company Reviews

1. Splash Financial

Splash Financial may be a newer company in the student loan refinancing space, but their offerings are competitive. This company lets you check your rate online without a hard inquiry on your credit report, and their variable rates currently start at just 2.25% APR.

Not only are interest rates offered by Splash Financial industry-leading, but the company has a 95% customer satisfaction rate so far. Their cutting-edge technology also lets you apply for your loan and complete the loan process online, meaning less hassle and stress for you as the borrower.

Check Out Splash Financial’s Low Rates

2. College Ave

College Ave offers student loan refinancing products that can be tailored to your needs. They offer low fixed and variable interest rates, for example, and you’ll never pay an application fee or an origination fee. You can even qualify for a discount if you set your loan up on autopay, and a wide range of repayment schedules are available.

College Ave also offers a wide range of online calculators and tools that can help you figure out how much student loan refinancing could help you save and whether the move would be worth it in the end. Considering their low variable rates start at just 2.74% APR, there’s a good chance you could save money by refinancing if you have excellent credit or a cosigner with great credit.

Get Started with College Ave

3. Earnest

Earnest is another online lender that focuses most of its efforts on offering high-quality student loans. This company lets you consolidate debt at a lower interest rate than you might find elsewhere, and you get the option to pick a monthly payment and repayment period that works with your budget and your lifestyle.

While you’ll need excellent credit to qualify for the lowest interest rates, loans from Earnest come with variable APRs starting at 1.81% and low fixed rates starting at just 3.45%. To qualify for student loan refinancing with Earnest, you’ll need a minimum credit score of 650 and a strong employment and income history. You also need to be current on all your bills and cannot have a bankruptcy on your credit profile.

Refinance and Save with Earnest

4. SoFi

Also make sure to check out student loan refinancing company SoFi as you continue your search. This online lender offers some of the best student loan refinancing products available today, including loans with no application fee, origination fee, or hidden fees.

SoFi lets you apply for and complete the entire loan process online, and they offer live customer support 7 days a week. You can also check your rate online without a hard inquiry on your credit report, which makes it easier to see how much you could save before you commit.

Get Pre-Approved with SoFi in Less than 2 Minutes

5. Commonbond

Commonbond is another online student lender who lets you check your rate online without a hard inquiry on your credit report. With student loan refinancing from Commonbond, you could easily save thousands of dollars on interest with a new fixed interest rate as low as 3.21%. Repayment terms are offered for 5 to 20 years as well, letting you choose a new monthly payment and repayment timeline that works for your needs.

You can apply for your new loan online and note that these loans don’t come with an origination fee or any prepayment penalties. Your loan could also qualify for forbearance, which means having up to 24 months without payments during times of financial hardship.

Apply Online with Commonbond

6. LendKey

LendKey offers private student loans and flexible student loan refinancing options to serve a variety of needs. You can repay your loan between 5 and 20 years, and their refinance loans don’t charge an origination fee.

You can use this company’s online interface to check your rate without a hard inquiry on your credit report, and variable APRs start at just 2.01% for graduates with excellent credit. LendKey loans also receive 9.3 out of 10 possible stars in recent reviews, meaning their customers are mostly happy with their decision to go with this company.

Save Thousands by Refinancing with LendKey

7. Wells Fargo

While Wells Fargo is mostly popular for their banking products, home mortgage products, and personal loans, this bank also offers student loan refinancing products. These loans let you consolidate student debts into a new loan with a low variable or fixed interest rate, and you can even score a discount for setting your loan up on autopay.

Terms for Wells Fargo loans are available anywhere from 5 to 20 years, meaning you can choose a repayment schedule and monthly payment that suits your needs. Wells Fargo also lets you check your rate online without a hard inquiry on your credit report.

Get Started with Wells Fargo

8. PenFed Credit Union

PenFed Credit Union offers unique student loan products powered by Purefy. You might be able to qualify for a lower interest rate that could lead to enormous interest savings over time, and PenFed lets you choose a repayment term and monthly payment that fits with your budget and lifestyle.

You can apply for student loan refinancing on your own, but PenFed Credit Union also allows cosigners. Low fixed interest rates start at just 3.48% APR, and you can check your rate online without a hard inquiry on your credit report.

Learn More about PenFed Credit Union

What To Look For When Refinancing

If you decide you want to refinance your student loans, you’ll be happy to know the refinancing market is more robust than ever. A variety of lenders offer insanely attractive loan options for those who can qualify, although you should know that student loan companies tend to be very finicky about your credit score. Some also won’t let you refinance if you didn’t graduate from college, or even if you graduated from an “unapproved” school.

While you should be aware of any lender-specific eligibility requirements before you apply with any student loan company, there are plenty of other factors to look out for. Here’s everything you should look for in a student loan refinancing company before you decide to trust them with your loans.

Low Interest Rate

Obviously, the main reason you’re probably thinking of refinancing your loans is the potential to save money on interest. Lenders who offer the lowest rates available today can potentially help you save more, although it’s important to consider that you may not qualify for the lowest rates available if you don’t have excellent credit.

Cosigner Requirements

Also consider that most lenders will offer better rates and loan terms if you have a cosigner with better credit than you have. This is especially true if your credit isn’t great, so make sure to ask family members if they’re willing to cosign on your new student loan if you hope to get the best rate. Just remember that your cosigner will be jointly liable for repayment, meaning you could quickly damage your relationship if you default on your loan and leave them holding the bag.

Low Fees or No Fees

Student loans are like any other loan in the fact that some charge higher fees or more fees than others. Since many student loans come with an application fee or an origination fee, you’ll want to look for lenders that don’t charge these fees. Also check for hidden fees like prepayment penalties.

Discounts Available

Some student loan companies let you qualify for discounts, the most popular of which is a discount for using autopay. If you’re able and willing to set up automatic payments on your credit card, you could save .25% or .50% off your interest rate depending on the lender you go with.

Rate Check Option

Many of the top student loan refinancing companies on this list make it possible to check your interest rate online without a hard inquiry on your credit report. This is a huge benefit since knowing your rate can help you figure out if refinancing is even worth it before you take the time to fill out a full loan application.

Flexible Repayment Plan

Also make sure any lender you go with offers some flexibility in your repayment plan and your monthly payment. You’ll want to make sure refinancing aligns with your long-term financial goals and your monthly budget, and it’s crucial to choose a new loan with a monthly payment you can live with.

Most lenders in this space offer repayment timelines of up to 20 years, which means you could spread your payments over several decades to get a monthly payment that makes sense with your income. Keep in mind, however, that you’ll pay more interest over the life of your loan when you take a long time to pay it off, so you may want to consider prioritizing a faster payment plan.

The Bottom Line

Student loan refinancing may not sound like a lot of fun. However, taking the time to consider all your loan options could easily save you thousands of dollars. This is especially true if you have a lot of debt at a high interest rate. By consolidating all your student loans into a new one with a lower APR, you could make loan repayment easier with a single payment and save a ton of money that would otherwise go to straight to interest without helping you pay off your loans.

The first step of the loan process is the hardest, however, and that’s choosing a student loan refinancing company that you trust. The lenders on this list are highly rated, but they also offer some of the best loan products on the market today.

  • Work with College Ave, our top pick, to refinance your student loan.

Start your search here and you’re bound to wind up with a student loan you can live with. At the very least, you’ll have a better idea of the loans that are available and how much you might save if you decide to refinance later on.

The post The Best Student Loan Companies For Refinancing appeared first on Good Financial Cents®.

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