Friday, June 29, 2012

Competing Council District Plans Will be on November Ballot

The City Council has decided to put two options for district representation on the November Ballot, Statesman.com reports.  The concern is that voters will split on the district plans and it will doom both to failure.

The ballot will give voters three choices:  keep the council as is with 7 members representing the entire city, a plan with 10 district representatives and one citywide mayor, or a plan with eight district representatives and three citywide members, including the mayor.

A group called Austinites for Geographic Representation gathered 30,000 signatures to put the 10-1 plan on the ballot, but other council members prefer the 8-3 mix to strike a balance between neighborhood needs and city wide issues, so on a 4-3 vote the council voted to put that plan on the ballot as well.

There will be two more votes on this issue this summer, so the council could decide differently later.  Political experts think that most Austinites will favor no change and then the rest of voters will choose one or the other plan, scuttling both.  Austinites have voted against district plans six times since 1970.

A district plan will have to get over 50 percent of the vote to be enacted.  The council added a provision to the ballot that if both plans get more than 50 percent of the vote, the plan with the most votes will be the winner.

Looking for a great apartment where you can be king of the castle?  Call A+ Apartment Locators today!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Repel Mosquitoes Using Plants

Repelling mosquitoes using plants is a natural and less smelly alternative to DEET or citronella candles.  Apartment Therapy.com covers five plants that will keep the pesky pests from spoiling your summer dinner parties.

Catnip not only attracts cats, but it also repels mosquitoes.  In experiments, researchers found that nepetalactone, the essential oil in catnip that gives the plant its characteristic odor, is about ten times more effective at repelling mosquitos than DEET, the compound used in most commercial insect repellents.  Apparently catnip also repels roaches, so for a pest free, cat filled balcony or yard, plant some catnip!

Rosemary also repels mosquitoes.  Not only does it smell heavenly, taste delicious and look beautiful because of its bright blue flowers, rosemary oil is a natural bug repellent.  You can crush the leaves and rub them all over you to keep the mosquitoes off leave you and smelling a lot better than stinky bug spray.

Marigolds keep those biting bloodsuckers away while their beautiful orange flowers will keep your garden colorful.  If you plant them near vegetables, they also keep away other bugs such as aphids that can ruin your plants.  Mosquito Plants and Citronella Grass are two other options if you would like to plant foliage that will keep the mosquitoes at bay.

Looking for a great new apartment to seek refuge from the onslaught of summer pests?  Call A Plus Apartment Locators today!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Barton Springs Improvements Spark Debate

Barton Springs Improvements that have been planned since 2009 are upsetting some regular park users, Statesman.com reports.  The improvements are slated for the south side of the pool, but some pool visitors fear the new fence, entrance gate, ticket booth and access path would overdevelop this beloved Austin treasure.

Save Our Springs and other characterize the improvements as unnecessary and consider the current dirt path, chain link fence and un-air conditioned ticket booth to be signs of the "laid-back and minimal" appearance of the south side of Barton Springs.  However, Friends of Barton Springs says the amazing natural treasure deserves "grounds and facilities that are equal to it."

The plans call for planting native plants and trees and protecting some large pecan trees near the north-side concession area, as well as burying overhead power lines.  However, the projects inspiring the biggest debate are the ones planned for the pool's southside.  They include a concrete path to the pool surrounded by native plants that would be added to the woods behind the diving board and would provide access for those who are disabled, mobility-impaired, or parents pushing strollers.

The south-side fence would also be moved to accommodate the new path and to include large trees and more lawn in the grounds of the springs.  In addition, a wrought-iron or wire-mesh fence would replace the current chain-link fence topped with barbed wire.

Other possible improvements include paving the dirty parking lot on the south side and building a new wrought-iron entrance gate flanked by limestone pillars.  The current 1970's un-air conditioned ticket booth would be replaced by a slightly larger model with air conditioning for the ticket-takers.

No matter what side you fall on the debate over Barton Springs improvements, there's no debate that you need a crown-jewel apartment of your own to call home!  Give A Plus Apartment Locators a chance to help you play it cool in a great new home!

Friday, June 8, 2012

How to Feng Shui

Feng shui is an often-used buzz word in decorating.  But what does it mean?  How do you Feng Shui your home?

The simplest way to explain Feng shui is that it is a way of decorating your home that will "create a vibrant feeling of joy and harmony."  Your goal in feng shui is to make your environment have the best energy for whatever activities will take place in your space.

Your first step will be to get rid of your clutter.  This allows the "old energy" to be cleared out so you can create a strong energy foundation.  After you've decluttered, you need to ensure your space has good quality air and light, which are absolutely necessary for good Chi.

Next, you need to make an energy map of your home, or bagua.  This will be the guide to what colors you use in which rooms, what pictures you should use in your home, and where your furniture should be placed to have the best energy flow.

Now it's time to determine what colors should be used in which rooms.  Each color represents one of the five feng shui elements:  fire, earth, metal, water and wood.  You will use your bagua to determine which elements should be in which area, which will then guide you to what colors to paint your walls, cover your furniture and to use for your decorative items.

Next you need to determine what good feng shui items your home needs.  Perhaps you already own them, or you may need to purchase a fountain, which will bring you money, or some lucky bamboo to be sure that you stay healthy.  Other items that may be missing from your new feng shui home is a statue or picture of Buddha to make sure you have harmony and spiritual growth or crystals to protect you, provide you with clarity or to make sure your love life stays on the up and up.

Lastly, you will need to decide how and where to place these decor items so they can fulfill their promise as powerful feng shui cures.  About.com has the complete and rather complex instructions on how to make sure you correctly execute each step of your Feng Shui home decorating odyssey for the best Chi in town!

Looking for your own little slice of nirvana?  A Plus Apartment Locators can help you find an Austin Apartment that gives you good vibrations!

Photo by Ananta Bhadra Lamichhane

Friday, June 1, 2012

Ford Warriors in Pink

I was recently honored to be chosen as a Model of Courage for Ford Warriors in Pink.  Over the last 18 years, Ford has raised over $18 million dollars to fight breast cancer.  This year, they chose eleven survivors to model their apparel and accessories and share our stories.  For every item purchased, 100% of the net proceeds are donated back to breast cancer research.
Please go to fordcares.com and visit the store for some great clothes and accessories that show you're a fellow warrior in the fight against breast cancer.  Then at the checkout, enter the promo code AUSTINWIP, which will help keep the funds raised right here in Austin!

I also hope you'll visit my blog as I share my experience fighting cancer and now being selected as a Ford Warrior in Pink!

I am proud that WTA, A+ Apartment Locating's parent company, raises money every October for breast cancer research through gopinkwta.com and we raised more than $2500 in 2011 alone.  We'll be doing it again in October, so please stay tuned and help us make Breast Cancer History!