Summer is for fun in the sun, traveling, and of course – reading! Summer reading is a great way to unwind while also learning something new. The beauty of reading books is that you can do it anywhere; from the comfort of your own home to reading poolside! Whatever your plans are this summer, we thought we would share some of our favorite Summer Reads:
Elementary/Middle-School Ages 5 – 13 Reading
According to the National Education Association, “Children who read at home have a higher success rate in school.” So while school is out for summer, try some of these fun favorites:
Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller, and illustrated by Jen Hill, “encourages kindness and empathy.” Accompanied by drawings that tell the story of practicing the golden rule.
Ordinary People Change the World by Brad Meltzer and illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos offers some fun history lessons through heroes come to life in this biography series about role models from Rosa Parks to Albert Einstein and many more.
The Girl Who Drank the Moonby Kelly Barnhill. The winner of the 2017 Newberry Medal, this is a book for kids who love fantasy, magic, monsters, and dragons and is recommended for middle school readers.
Running on the Roof of the Worldby Jess Butterworth. An adventurous story set in the Himalayan Mountains with 12-year-old Tash who “embarks on an incredible journey with her best friend, Sam, encountering Chinese soldiers and the Dalai Lama.”
High School Ages 14- 17/18 Young Adult
Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian, a young adult fantasy novel featuring the long-adored formula of good versus evil, complete with a tyrant and a captive queen.
The Evolution of Claire(Jurassic World YA Novel) by Tess Sharpe features Claire Dearing as a young college intern at the not-yet-open Jurassic World theme park. Claire encounters prehistoric beasts, rumors, mystery, and a little bit of romance.
Always Never Yoursby Austin Siegemund-Broka and Emily Wibberly Utterly is a laugh-out-loud story about the theater and one girl’s hilarious, yet heartbreaking love life. Quickly becoming a reader favorite with light, witty banter- perfect for poolside reading.
Adult Ages 18+
All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin. Set in Nashville, the story hinges on a photograph taken at Windsor Academy, Nashville’s most prestigious private school. Lives become intertwined as the photograph causes shock waves through Nashville’s wealthy neighborhoods.
Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg combines academic intrigue and 18th-century underworld when University professor R. Voth finds a 1724 manuscript purported to be the memoirs of real-life 18th-century British thief and folk hero Jack Sheppard.
When Life Gives You Lululemonsby Lauren Weisberger almost feels like the sequel to “Devil Wears Prada.” Emily Charlton returns to the banal suburbs of the East Coast after working with stars in Hollywood.
This Is Me: Loving the Person You Are Todayby Chrissy Metz. The “This Is Us,” star, Chrissy Metz, delivers a beautifully honest memoir about “how to be to two things: kind and authentic.”
What you read is almost as important as where you read. If you’re fortunate enough to live in a Weidner community, you know you have plenty of options to sit down with a quality book. Whether you choose to relax among your community’s beautiful landscaping or curl up on the couch in your comfy apartment, Weidner hopes you get your summer reading on!
It’s hard to believe it’s time to think about gifts for grads when it seems the holiday season was just a few weeks ago. Yet, graduation season is upon us, and like it or not, our high school and college graduates are leaving home and in some instances, leaving town. We thought we’d share a few gift ideas to celebrate the graduate’s accomplishments and usher them into the big, wide world with ease:
Cash and its cousin, the Gift Card are still the top favorites. Let’s face it, cash always works as a gift. Add a personalized greeting card with some sound life advice, and you’ve got yourself a winner. For gift cards, something they’ll use on a daily basis is the best including cards for local grocery stores or Costco, Target, gas cards, Amazon, Starbucks, and movie theatres.
A new, shiny laptop. School projects take a toll on a laptop, so whether they are leaving for college or starting a new job, a new laptop might be in order.
Bikes and scooters are also a top favorite for grads. Both come in a variety of colors and scream “you’re going places,” as in, welcome to your busy life.
Luggage and backpacks. Carting things around from dorm room to work and school can get very arduous. With a huge variety of colors and styles to choose from, this is an easy gift. For an added dose of fun, pack the suitcase with laundry and cleaning supplies. After all, they’re on their own now; they have to learn to do their own laundry sometime!
Mini Toolboxes. Nothing says “grown-up” like a mini toolbox, except maybe a First Aid Kit, which also might come in handy as they enter the real world.
Coffee Machine or Tea Pot. The need for caffeine might be the most recognizable sign of adulting today. Add some gourmet coffee and a decorative thermos and walk away knowing your grad is in good hands.
Noise Cancelling Headphones. Whether they are transitioning to college or the workforce, life can get noisy!
Classy Accessories. A real wallet says you’re ready for real money. Add some designer sunglasses or a watch, gloves, or a business card holder, and it will seem like they were never children.
A plane or bus ticket home. Just in case you start missing your favorite grad in a few months. And like we said earlier – before we know it, the holidays will be upon us.
Working from home is definitely on the rise. According to a recent report by FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics, “3.9 million U.S. employees, or 2.9 percent of the total U.S. workforce, work from home at least half of the time, up from 1.8 million in 2005 (a 115 percent increase since 2005).”
If you’re one of the millions of American’s joining the telecommuting force, here are some tips and tricks on being productive and decorating your home office like the money-making sanctuary it is:
Schedule your work time. Whether you are on the virtual office clock, or you’re a freelancer who makes your own hours, sticking to a set schedule daily will help you be more efficient. Make sure to schedule in a morning/afternoon break and a lunchtime. A set schedule will help you manage your time wisely so that you never miss any deadlines.
Make a To-Do list. Once you’ve set your schedule, having a priority list of things to do will help keep you on track when distractions tempt you to stop what you’re doing. Which brings us to…
Keep distractions to a minimum. Easier said than done right? With that said, it’s important to stick to business and not let things like dirty dishes or laundry get in the way of your work productivity. It’s best to set time before or after work to handle your chores. If you’re a parent with young children at home, you might find it useful to hire a sitter for a certain amount of hours each week to allow for deadlines and tasks that take all of your concentration.
Beware the “friendly neighbor.” Nothing says community like a friendly chat with a neighbor, but it’s best to keep those chats to a minimum during work hours so you can hit your goals and feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of your day. Once everyone understands your commitment to your career obligations, they’re usually happy to be supportive. Of course, this tip also applies to friends, family, and even pets! (Pets seem to have an uncanny sense of when it’s time to take a break, however.)
Don’t be a hermit. One of the advantages of telecommuting is you don’t have to get dressed and go out. It’s also one of the disadvantages and can lead to the doldrums, if not managed. Get dressed and get ready to go to work. See friends. Stay alert, aware, and connected. You work from home, you’re not under house arrest.
Set up your office like the pro that you are. Think about what makes you feel the most productive and happy and put that in your office. It sounds simple, but really give it some thought. Configure your chair, desk, lighting, and technology to your needs. Invest in your success. Throw in some color and artwork that inspires you. Do you like to work to a certain soundtrack? Load up those tunes. Do you prefer complete quiet? Invest in some professional noise-canceling headphones.
Celebrate your success. Whether you are connected to a corporate office remotely, or you are an independent contractor, it’s important to celebrate milestones and a job well done. It’s good for your self-esteem and it keeps you connected to your own goals. Set up a list of things to celebrate and how you’ll reward yourself for your achievements. Will it be a day at the spa for exceeding your sales goals? A dinner out with friends because a customer gave you a great Yelp review? Whatever it is, pat yourself on the back. Somebody’s got to, and it might as well be you!
While telecommuting is not for everyone, with a little planning, focus, and determination, working from home can be very rewarding!
Weidner Apartment Homes offers many spacious apartment homes with a den/office area – ideal for working from home. Whether you have an office, set up in the living room or you prefer to transform an extra bedroom into your personal headquarters, we’ve got the ideal space for you!
Mother’s Day is a day where everyone takes the time to honor the mothers in their families. This includes aunts, grandmas, sisters, and any woman that has shared a mom-like role in your life. So, this coming Mother’s Day, show off your mom by letting her know how much she means to you. It’s a joyous day that is typically spent showering your mothers with gifts, taking her somewhere special, or just celebrating her the best way you know how.
If you’re like millions of other Americans, you may struggle to think of the perfect gift. Rather than racking your brain to figure out what to get her, we have come up with some festive Mother’s Day Ideas you can give a try.
Places to Go, Things to See
There are a number of places you can take your mom to ensure she has a special day!
Brunch, Brunch, and More Brunch
Take your mother out to a great brunch spot. There are a variety of fantastic restaurants that have great brunch menus, some will even have Mother’s Day specials going on that weekend. Your mom will definitely appreciate the gesture.
Special Spa Day
Allow your mother to be pampered and catered to with a relaxing spa day. Taking your mom to get her nails done, or to get a much-needed massage will make her feel rejuvenated and appreciated. Plus, she’ll be in a relaxed and happy mood.
Your mom will absolutely love going to see a show. Look up any concerts, comedy shows, plays, or musicals you know your mom will enjoy. Extra cool points if it’s something she’s mentioned she’s been dying to see.
Great Gifts for Mom
When considering a gift for your mom there are both universal gifts that work, and gifts that are more unique to your mom. Either way, you can’t go wrong with showing your mom you care.
Universal gifts are gifts that most moms tend to appreciate, especially if it’s coming from you. These are gifts that are perfect if you have a lot of mothers in your family, and you’re just not sure what to get them all. They are also a good go to if you’re not quite sure what to get your mom. These are gifts like flowers, candy, jewelry, cards, gift cards and a nice gesture like making her breakfast and cleaning the house while she enjoys her meal.
Unique gifts are gifts that are more particular. They are special gifts that may reflect your mom’s personal likes and interests. For example, if your mother is into yoga, getting her a membership to a great yoga studio would definitely be thoughtful and it shows that you know what she likes. If your mom is not one to spoil herself, getting her something she has been needing like a new purse or briefcase shows that you know what her needs are and that you pay attention. These kinds of gifts show your mom you care about her interest and that you care about her.
The possibilities to celebrate Moms on Mother’s Day are endless, but at the end of the day, and every day – simply letting your mom know you love her is the best gift of all.
Ranking #4 on the Weidner Best Cities list and #6 on the Livability Best Places to Live list, Bellevue, WA is a suburb of Seattle located between Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish. Nicknamed “City in the Park,” Bellevue has more than 2,500 acres of parks and 80 miles of trails. Downtown Park is a local favorite, described as a “21-acre oasis of green in the heart of Bellevue” with a 240-foot wide cascading waterfall and an optimum location for picnics and family outings.
Bellevue’s park-like atmosphere makes the city easily accessible and is a favorite among cyclists who prefer to bike or walk to work. The city’s accessibility, job opportunities, stellar views and booming housing market make it one of the most coveted cities to live in the United States.
Bellevue is a festive city, featuring annual festivals including the Wintergrass Festival, Cultural Crossroads Festival, Bellevue Jazz & Blues Festival and the Bellevue Arts Fair.
Things to Do, See, and Taste in Bellevue, WA
Bellevue has an active and diverse arts scene. The Bellevue Arts Museum features works from Northwest artists as well as national and international exhibitions and more than 100 works of public art are on display throughout the city and in Downtown Park. For a more detailed listing of where to enjoy the art scene, pick up the Downtown ArtMap. The KidsQuest Museum is an interactive children’s museum that attracts more than 208,000 people per year and features exhibits, programs, and events throughout the year. Chihuly Garden & Glass is rated as one of the top excursions in nearby Seattle, just 7 miles away, featuring exquisite glass exhibits, tours, a glass garden, a bookstore, and dining.
Aside from the more than 100 parks, Bellevue is a virtual paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. From the stunning Bellevue Botanical Gardens to the Bellevue Zip Tours, to kayaking down the Mercer Slough, residents enjoy a wide variety of outdoor activities.
Shopping and dining opportunities abound in this cultural, picturesque city. Bellevue is a virtual foodie heaven for those who enjoy dining out. Seastar Restaurant & Raw Bar, Black Bottle, Cactus and Mediterranean Kitchen are just a small sampling of the city’s dining options. For retail therapy, try The Shops at Bravern, Bellevue Square and Lincoln Square South, which is also adorned with art pieces.
Employment and Education in Bellevue
Bellevue and nearby Seattle are considered one of the most vibrant employment meccas in the nation. Microsoft, Expedia, and T-Mobile make their home in Bellevue as well as Amazon in nearby Seattle. Considered one of the top-rated school districts in the country, “Bellevue School District operates 27 schools for children K-12, including the award-winning International School – a natural fit in a city whose student body collectively speaks more than 50 languages. In 2013 alone, Bellevue’s high schools made Newsweek’s list of America’s Best High Schools, the Washington Post’s America’s Most Challenging High Schools list, and U.S. News and World Report’s Best High Schools list.”
Cinco De Mayo is here and we’re all so excited! While it’s not necessarily a holiday we get off of work, or school, we appreciate the chance to celebrate it all the same. This cultural holiday is big in the United States and in Mexico. There are so many fun and exciting ways to celebrate Cinco de Mayo whether you want to go out, or if you’re thinking about staying in. No matter how you celebrate this holiday, it’s important to know why Cinco de Mayo or (May 5th) is such an important date in history.
History of Cinco de Mayo
Many people are under the impression that Cinco de Mayo is Mexican Independence Day, and that is simply not the case. If that was you, don’t worry about it, just know Mexican Independence is celebrated in September, not May. Cinco de Mayo is a day that commemorates the Mexican army winning The Battle of Puebla. They won against the French army, who at the time was the greatest army in the world, and hadn’t lost a battle in over fifty years.The battle took place May 5th, 1862 and even though they were completely outnumbered they came through victorious. Today Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in the U.S and Mexico by embracing Mexican culture and traditions.
Events, Parties, and More
Now that we know why we are celebrating, let’s talk about the fun ways we can go about it. There will be numerous places celebrating and hosting different Cinco de Mayo events, and these events will be too good to miss. If you live in one or our Weidner Apartment Homes in Phoenix, AZ there is a popular Cinco De Mayo festival that takes place on May 6th. There will be live music and even scholarship giveaways. In places like Tucson, AZ there is a Cinco De Mayo Annual Picnic at the George Mehl County Park. You can bring your friends and family for a guaranteed good time. All over America, there are Cinco De Mayo parties taking place. People in Midland, TX and Odessa, TX can go to a Cinco De Mayo party being hosted at the Double Tree Hotel in Midland. They are having the party on both Saturday and Sunday, double the weekend fun! If you’re not into to going out, that’s fine, we have celebratory ideas for you too!
Cinco De Mayo Apartment Party
Get things going in your own home this Cinco De Mayo and throw your own Cinco De Mayo party! Invite some friends and family over and incorporate a little blending of Mexican culture into your party. Cook or serve Mexican food favorites that are easy and quick for your party, like enchiladas, tacos, and quesadillas. Have great finger food for people to snack on, like chips and salsa, chips and guacamole, or chips and a really good bean dip. Having decorations like colorful candles, napkins, plastic cups, plates, and utensils is also a really good idea. Colorful banners, place setting, and a Mexican flag or two wouldn’t hurt the aesthetics of the party either. Serving popular Mexican drinks like horchata, Jarritos, and aguas frescas will really make your party stand out. Integrate a couple of Spanish or Spanish style songs into your playlist and you’ve got the makings of a legendary Cinco De Mayo party.
No matter how you celebrate this special holiday it’s important to remember why we celebrate it. Cinco De Mayo is a time for having fun, but always remember to be safe. If you have any other great Cinco De Mayo tips, and traditions, share it with us at #LifeatWeidner.