Just Add Candlelight: Romantic Valentine’s Dinner Ideas for Two

Whether you’re on a budget or you simply want to plan a more personalized Valentine’s Day date than dinner at a crowded restaurant, preparing a home-cooked meal for that special someone is a wonderful way to celebrate the holiday. Here are three romantic dinner ideas that are made for two—just be sure not to forget the candlelight!

Surf-and-Turf for Two [coastalliving.com]
This is normally one of the priciest dishes on the menu at an upscale restaurant, so preparing it at home is a more affordable way to enjoy an indulgent Valentine’s Day meal. With tender, juicy steak and plump scallops cooked in a champagne-butter sauce, this meal will surely elicit a thank-you kiss.

Creamy Tomato Soup [myrecipes.com]
Valentine’s Day falls at the tail end of the winter in most parts of the country, so snuggle up with your better half over a bowl of steaming hot tomato soup. Gain a few extra romance points by pairing it with grilled cheese sandwiches cut into festive heart shapes.

Mini Heart Pizzas [thenerdswife.com]
Pizza is the fastest route to just about anyone’s heart, as you’ll quickly learn when you present your special someone with these adorable (and delicious) mini pizzas. They’re baked in the shape of hearts for a more festive flair, and they’re so easy to make that even the most novice home chef can prepare them with ease.

How to Choose the Right Furniture for Your Apartment

Purchasing furniture is a big investment, and for most people, it’s something that requires a little bit of planning. If you want to make sure that you’re getting the best bang for your buck on furniture that really suits your space at Windsor at Arbors, there are some simple rules to follow. Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing new furniture.

  1. Measure everything. You always want to measure your space before purchasing large furniture pieces such as a sofa or an area rug. Measure the entire room first, and then determine how much of that space you want the furniture to fill. Finally, take a measuring tape with you to the store and measure the furniture before purchasing.
  2. Consider the doorway. Be sure that you can fit the furniture through hallways and into the apartment itself before purchasing.
  3. Think of its uses. Will you use your sofa mainly for watching television, or will it be a gathering space for large groups of people? Keep the functionality in mind before making any furniture purchases.
  4. Choose high-quality materials. You might be okay with purchasing bargain furniture for your first apartment, but if you really want your furniture to last, it’s best to pay a bit more for high-quality construction. Look for pieces made with real wood, and if it’s a sofa, inspect the seams and cushions to test their quality.

How to Determine Furniture Proportion to a Room [SF Gate]
Choosing the Right Size Sofa: Four Key Questions to Ask Yourself [Apartment Therapy]
Choosing the Right Furniture [Moving.com]

Did You Know These Cool Facts About Tea?

There are few things more relaxing than kicking back after a long day with a hot mug of tea, but how much do you really know about the brew that you’re sipping? From its numerous health benefits to its rich, global history, there’s a whole lot to learn about this fascinating beverage!

  • Tea bags were originally designed in the early 1800s. They were created to hold samples of tea brought to America from India. Today, tea bags are much more commonly used than loose-leaf varieties.
  • Darjeeling tea is the world’s rarest tea. It gets its name because it's grown in the Indian region of Darjeeling. While many types of teas are labeled Darjeeling, only 1/4 are actually from the region!
  • While tea styles like black, green, white, and oolong taste very distinct, they all come from the same Camellia sinensis plant. It's the way the leaves are harvested and treated that determines their color and variety.
  • Herbal teas are not really teas at all. Rather, they're infused fruits, flowers, plants, and herbs.
  • China is the world’s largest tea producer. The country supplies 29% of the tea in the world. India comes in a close second.
  • The Chinese are not the world’s largest tea consumers. That title belongs to the United Arab Emirates!

Tea Facts from A to Z: 26 Things You Didn’t Know About Tea [Fine Dining Lovers]
Tea Fact Sheet – 2014 [Tea Association]
10 Interesting Facts About Tea — Iron Chef America Ingredients 101 [Food Network]

How to Add Mid-Century Modern Flair to Your Apartment at Windsor at Arbors

Mid-century modern furniture is having a major resurgence, with everyone from your best friend to your local coffee shop getting in on the trend. If you love the teak woods, clean lines, and hairpin legs that mid-century design is known for, these simple tips will show you a few easy—and affordable—ways to incorporate it into your own apartment.

  1. Think of wood first. While it may be tempting to buy that imitation wood table at your local discount furniture store, to create a true mid-century look, you’ll want to use as much real wood as possible. Teak, walnut, and oak are some of the most popular styles from this era. If you’re on a tight budget, even replacing one or two pieces with a real wood piece will make a big difference.
  2. Go for geometric patterns. In terms of textiles, think bold, geometric patterns combined with subtle tweeds and pops of mustard, rust and teal.
  3. Update the lights. Go for a dramatic arc floor lamp or a shiny bronze desk lamp, or even switch out your kitchen’s light fixture with an oval-shaped hanging pendant.
  4. Switch your sofa. If you can afford it, invest in a low-profile sofa with clean lines and slim legs. This is a surefire way to create a mid-century look with one statement piece.
  5. Add art. Finally, add abstract art with bold colors as the finishing touch.

10 Easy Ways to Add a Mid-Century Modern Style to Your Home [Freshome]
Mid-Century Modern Style Decorating [Wayfair]
Add Midcentury Modern Style to Your Home [HGTV]

Easy Slow-Cooker Meals for Busy Weeknights

If you can never seem to find the time to prepare a full meal for your weeknight dinners, the slow cooker may be the answer to all of your mealtime woes. Here are a few easy slow-cooker meals perfect for your next busy weeknight.

Spicy Turkey Lasagna [bhg.com]
Lasagna in the slow-cooker? Yep, it’s possible! This recipe takes just 20 minutes to prep the meat, noodles, and veggies, and since it takes just under four hours to cook, it’s a quicker alternative to the usual day-long slow-cooker meals.

Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings [allrecipes.com]
If you’re craving something hearty and comforting, these slow-cooker chicken and dumplings taste just as good as the kind your grandma used to make—but likely with half the effort. Use canned soup and packaged biscuit dough to save even more time.

Vegetarian Pinto Bean Sloppy Joes [eatingwell.com]
While many slow-cooker recipes contain meat, this veggie-filled version of the classic sloppy Joe is perfect for vegetarians. Instead of the usual ground beef, you’ll use pinto beans, zucchini, and corn in a sauce that’s equal parts tangy, smoky and perfect for a chilly autumn evening.

Pressed for Time? Try These On-the-Go Breakfasts!

Skipping breakfast can throw off your whole day, leaving you feeling hungry, lethargic, and, yes, even a little bit grumpy. Instead of forgoing your morning meal when you wake up late, ensure that you always have a healthy breakfast on hand by making these tasty meals ahead of time.

Zap It! Scrambled Eggs and Cheese [marthastewart.com]
Think that you need a lot of time to make eggs for breakfast? Think again! With this modern update on classic scrambled eggs, you can make your favorite breakfast dish right in your trusty microwave.

Peanut Butter, Strawberry and Banana Quesadillas [ambitiouskitchen.com]
Simply grill the delicious combination of natural peanut butter and fresh fruit in a classic whole grain tortilla for a sweet and creamy breakfast in just minutes. As a bonus, you can even eat this handheld breakfast on your drive to work!

Frozen Fruit Smoothie [parenting.com]
If you really just don’t have time to eat breakfast, try drinking it instead with this nutrient-rich fruit smoothie. Blend some frozen fruit, fresh orange juice, and low-fat yogurt to create a sippable breakfast that you can enjoy on your morning commute. Try adding a spoonful of flax or even some oats before blending!

How to Clean Cell Phones and Other Tech Devices

Since water and electronics don’t exactly go well together, you may wonder how you can safely (and still effectively) clean your much-used tech devices. Since these things accumulate a ton of bacteria due to frequent touching, it’s important to clean them frequently. These tips will show you how.

  1. Use a disinfectant. While you likely want to clean your gadgets to remove those signs of smudging and fingerprints, it’s far more important to clean them to remove germs and bacteria. Use a disinfectant by spraying it lightly on a soft cloth and gently wiping the screen or keyboard—never by using pre-soaked wipes, which can drip into your device.
  2. Care for your touchscreens. Touchscreens may become damaged if they come in contact with alcohol or a disinfectant, so you might want to invest in a cleanser designed especially for them.
  3. Use compressed air. To clean dust from keyboards and crevices in other devices, use a can of compressed air, which can be purchased at your local office supply store.
  4. Clean earbuds. Constantly sticking your earbuds or headphones into your ears isn’t exactly sanitary, so you’ll want to regularly wipe them with an alcohol-dampened cotton swab.
  5. Go easy on the TV. Experts advise against cleaning your flatscreen television with glass cleaner or even water. Instead, wipe the screen gently with a microfiber cloth to remove dust and fingerprints.

How to Safely Disinfect and Clean Your Gadgets [Lifehacker]
How to Clean Your (Disgusting) Cell Phones and Tablets [The Mac Lawyer]
Find out how to clean your cell phone and other dirty gadgets [Today Home]

How to Host an At-Home Book Swap

Do you have a group of book-loving friends who love to talk about their latest literary endeavors? Get them all together for a book swap at your home! These fun gatherings are great opportunities for you to trade books that you’ve read and loved and receive new recommendations. Here are a few simple tips for planning your first book swap.

  1. Set a minimum. In order to ensure that everyone brings enough books (it wouldn’t be much of a swap with just a few titles, after all), set a minimum for each person. For a group of around 10 people, 10 books per person should do the trick.
  2. Bring books that are in good condition. While you may want to get rid of your college philosophy books with notes all through the margins, your friends likely won’t appreciate receiving these in the swap.
  3. Give out tickets. The easiest (and fairest) way to run the swap is by giving everyone a ticket with his or her name on it for each book that they bring. Toss all of the tickets into a hat, and then draw names to decide who picks next.
  4. Add descriptions. If you want to get really in-depth with your swap, instruct your guests to write a short description of each of their books on a Post-It note (think “Recommended if you liked…”).

How to Throw a Book Swap Party [Reader’s Lane]
How to Host a Book Swap Party [One Good Thing]
How to Host a Swap Party [Real Simple]

Every Future Prediction From ‘Back to the Future Part II’ (And Whether the Movie Was Right or Wrong)

Today marks the day Marty McFly traveled to the future in "Back to the Future II". Check out some of the predictions that came true and the ones that weren't quite on the mark. What predictions are you most excited about having or wish came true?

Click here to read more.

Game-Day Eats Any Football Fan Will Love to Try

If there’s one thing all football fans can agree on, it’s that you have to have the perfect snacks to get you through the big game. The next time you have your friends over to Windsor at Arbors to watch some football, make these game-day eats that everyone will love.

Super Quick Chili [myrecipes.com]
While cooking chili may seem like an all-day affair, it doesn’t have to be when you have a recipe like this one. In just under 30 minutes you can create a perfectly spicy, flavorful chili and serve it in miniature bread bowls made out of store-bought dinner rolls.

Asiago-Artichoke Dip [bhg.com]
Make your usual cheese dip a bit more sophisticated with this unique but equally simple recipe. The addition of prosciutto and green onions gives the cheesy concoction a big burst of flavor, and you can serve it with your choice of bagel chips, toasted bread slices, or gourmet crackers for easy dipping.

Crispy Baked Chicken Wings [bonappetit.com]
If you want to make classic chicken wings a bit healthier, this baked recipe is a great option. Instead of frying the wings in a deep fryer, this recipe involves baking them in the oven with a complex ginger-soy glaze that’s still spicy enough to satisfy your hot wing cravings.

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