Sep 17

Benefits Of Choosing a First Floor Apartment

When it comes to apartment hunting, you might think you want the highest floor and the best view, or to be away from the noise of residents coming and going or talking outside. You may also estimate that you’ll be safer from the risk of theft.

For these reasons, first-floor apartments tend to get a bad reputation. But is it really justified? There are actually many benefits to renting a ground floor apartment!

Moving in is much easier

Avoiding the stairs makes moving in so much easier. Trying to lug heavy furniture up narrow stairwells is a hassle, even for pros. It’s not much better trying to cram your belongings into an elevator. First floors do away with all these challenges.

Getting in and out is easier/more convenient

Not having to deal with stairs and elevators is always appealing to the senior population. If you’re shopping for an apartment for a parent or elderly friend, the first floor deserves a serious look. Apartments for disabled renters are typically on the first floor, too, to be near the parking.

Heat rises: you’ll be cooler in the summer

If you live in a southern state, you know how brutal the summer months can be. Living on an upper floor can be tough. Your cooling bill is higher just trying to keep the place comfortable. You don’t have that problem to the same degree in a ground floor apartment.

Lower cost

There’s no denying it: many people prefer an upper-level apartment for security reasons. Choosing the first-floor apartment, then, can mean paying less in rent each month.

Because heat rises (see above) you could also have a lower utility bill. A westward-facing window could offset this, however.

You don’t have neighbors below you

When you live in an upper floor unit, you have neighbors below you, hearing your every move. However, when you’re on the first floor, you don’t have to worry about how walking about in shoes, moving furniture or letting your kids or dog run around a bit affects the neighbors. This is especially true if you have small children. With today’s trend toward hardwood floors, this is more of an issue than ever.

Courtyards and gardens

Living on the ground floor allows you easy access to the courtyards, gardens and green space of your apartment community. It’s like having an extended patio.

Proximity to your car or bike

Not having to climb stairs or wait for an elevator is a real blessing, especially when you’ve worked a long day or come home with lots of groceries. And if you forget something in your car or apartment, it’s only seconds instead of minutes to retrieve it.

If you enjoy cycling, it’s great to step outside and jump on your bike. And if you have to store your bike inside your unit, think of the hassle you save by being at ground level. You might even find that easy proximity to the great outdoors serves as a catalyst for all sorts of outdoor activities, from swimming to walking.


Pets can manage stairs, but they don’t necessarily love them. And other residents don’t necessarily love sharing an elevator with animals. Being on the ground level solves all the above, plus gives you quick and easy access for early morning or late-night dog walks. A fenced patio at ground level is a huge bonus for you both to step outside

Proximity to the mailboxes

Your mail comes nearly every day. It’s pretty nice to quickly step out and grab it.

There’s a lot to be said for ground floor apartments. If you’re on a tight budget, first-floor apartments can give you a good bang for your buck. A landlord’s first priority is to occupy all the units, and that can be a good bargaining chip for you regarding price on a first-floor unit. There are many beautiful and affordable first floor units out there; it just takes a little searching to find the one you love.

Highland Haus

Aug 17

Your Dishwasher Can Be Used For Other Things Too

Though it sounds crazy, your dishwasher is capable of washing so much more than just your dishes. Learn how this cleaning powerhouse can sanitize, clean, protect and extend the life of things other than dishes!


Like our title says, you can put the sneakers in the dishwasher. (Just don’t combine them with your dishes). Shoes get a lot of wear and get dirty very quickly. If you have little kids running around who like to get their feet dirty, this is a tip you’ll definitely want to use.

Before putting a pair of shoes in the dishwasher to be cleaned, give them a once-over to look for any extremely dirty spots that may need scraped or scrubbed off before going in the wash. Make sure the open part of the shoe is over the rungs of your bottom dishwasher rack and that the bottom part of the shoe is facing up. After that, run the dishwasher with your normal dishwasher detergent. Remember to turn off the “heat dry” option or you might end up with a shrunken pair of shoes. Remove them from the dishwasher once the cycle is finished. Let your clean shoes dry overnight.

FUN FACT: You can also clean your flip flops on the top shelf of the dishwasher.


Think about it – your keys go wherever you go and can get touched by a lot of hands. Your keys are probably covered in germs.

It’s not recommended to put key fobs in the dishwasher, but simple metal keys can be put in your silverware holder for a wash cycle. They’ll come out shiny and sanitized.

Dog Supplies

Dogs love their toys. They love them so much that they’ll claw and drool all over them. Needless to say, they need a little extra cleaning from time to time.

Most of your dog’s supplies can be run through the dishwasher. Skip the detergent and just use a little vinegar instead. Soaps often contain chemicals that are harmful to pets, but vinegar works as a disinfectant. Their dishes, plastic toys, collars and leashes (not made of leather), can all be cleaned in the dishwasher without the “heat dry” setting.

Makeup Brushes

These brushes pick up a lot of gunk after each use. Then, they get used again each day without a thought. A quick cycle in the dishwasher gets them clean and extends their lifespan.

Makeup brushes can go in the silverware holder to be cleaned and sanitized. Once a month is usually enough for this thorough cleaning. Ensure that the brushes are completely dry after you clean them.

Garden Tools and Hand Tools

It’s pretty obvious that your garden tools can pick up some dirt after each use. Other metal and hand tools with plastic handles can also be cleaned in the dishwasher.

After the dishwasher cleans off the grit and grime, do not use the “heat dry” option and remove the tools immediately to dry by hand. Drying by hand lowers the chance of rust forming on the tools.

Plastic Children’s Toys

It’s no wonder that your child’s toys might need a quick wash to get rid of all the germs they pick up: those toys get around.

Plastic kids toys of all kinds can be placed in the dishwasher for an easy sanitation. If you have a bunch of small plastic toys (legos, small game pieces, blocks, etc.), they can be put in a mesh bag so they don’t get lost and fall through the racks.

Important: Turn off the “heat dry” option to avoid any melted toys.

As you can see, your dishwasher works to clean more than just your dishes. Save a few minutes and use it to clean and sanitize other items around your house, you’ll be glad you did!

Highland Haus

Aug 17

Cooking Hacks

Living in such a fast-paced, exciting urban area, it’s easy to get carried away with experiencing everything it has to offer—especially the restaurants. But dining out every meal can burn a large hole in your pocket, fast, and can put you in a compromising position with your health & weight. Some argue cooking at home is inconvenient, time-consuming and soaks up what little space you have in your city side apartment. Luckily there are ways to hack the system and cenare all’interno (dine inside) on little money, with no fancy gadgets necessary, and save yourself some calories to boot.

Here are some genius at-home cooking tips from the experts at Food & Wine.

Poaching the perfect egg is easier than it looks. The secret is starting with a simple household ingredient: distilled white vinegar. First, soak your eggs in the vinegar for about five minutes. Crack our egg into a small dish or bowl, making sure not to break the yolk. With a pan of simmering water on the stove, slide your egg from the dish into the water. You’ll notice it immediately begin to cook; use a spoon to move it around the water to cook evenly. After about four minutes, remove it from the water with your spoon and your egg is perfectly poached and ready to eat.
Fresh, homemade pancakes are delicious and fun to make, but they often leave a big mess in your kitchen that you won’t enjoy cleaning up later. Make it mess free by throwing your ingredients in a zip-lock bag and mix your batter either with a whisk or kneading it by hand. Gather the batter into one corner so it resembles a cake-icing bag and cut the tip. This provides you with the ability to make perfectly round pancakes, just the size you want, or even create other shapes like hearts, diamonds, or whatever you come up with!

Deviled eggs are a summertime staple and a beloved treat among folks of all ages. But the only thing worse than having bits of shell stuck to your hard-boiled egg, is mangling the egg whites while trying to make your precious picnic favorite. Using a simple household teaspoon will help you effortlessly peel your hard-boiled egg and make your life simpler. Take the cooked egg and hit the bottom of it (the widest part) on your counter or hard surface. Gently peel away only a small portion of the shell. Take the teaspoon and slide it under the thin layer of skin that sits between shell and egg. Carefully move the spoon around the egg to remove the skin and shell. Voila!
The hardest part about eating kiwi is cutting off the tough skin and wasting most of your fruit in the process. Similar to the hard-boiled egg, cut off the stem-end of the kiwi, only about 1/8 of an inch. Then take your teaspoon and slide it under the skin, moving it around the whole thing until it lifts away. You can gauge your progress by using your thumb and feeling for the spoon underneath the skin, careful not to press it into the fruit. Pinch the kiwi out of its skin and there you have it, effortless fresh fruit.
Sandwiches always taste better on a fresh baguette from the local bakery. But if you’ve had your loaf long enough that it begins to sag and the ends are hard, it’s no longer fresh and appetizing. Or is it? Next time your baguette has gone stale, run some water over the loaf to lightly coat it. Throw it in the oven at 450 degrees for 5-7 minutes. When it comes out, the exterior should crackle and crunch when you press it, and the inside should be soft and fluffy.

Oyster Bars do all the work for you—and for good reason–it’s hard to shuck an oyster shell. However, you can save money by eating the delicate meat at home, and with this tip you won’t kill yourself trying to pry it open. If a stubborn one is giving you trouble, pop it in the microwave for about twenty seconds. The heat will help expand the oyster shell and make it easier for you to crack it open. Then, using a knife, insert it at the hinge, where the top and bottom shell meet. Once the knife is partially in, use a turning motion of the wrist to open it the rest of the way, almost as if you were turning a door knob. But you’ll want to make sure your wrist does not bend, and that your whole arm is creating this motion. If that still doesn’t work, though, throw in the towel and head over to Ryleigh’s before you hurt yourself.
Dinner parties aren’t complete without decadent gourmet cheeses as an appetizer. But cutting these soft cheeses smoothly and cleanly is sometimes difficult and can mangle your expensive Brie. Using simple unflavored dental floss will solve that issue. Just as you would floss your teeth, wrap the ends around your fingers so the string is taut, and slide it down the roll of cheese until it breaks through the other side, a clean cut. For triangular cuts, place the floss at the ends of the triangle, long-ways. Criss-cross the two ends as the string moves along the cheese smoothly. And there you have it, clean cut cheese for your party platter.
Poaching salmon is one of the healthiest ways to prepare this delicious fish. An easy and mess-free way to poach salmon is by placing the filets in a zip-lock bag (add seasonings and lemons, if desired) and lowering them into a boiling pan of water. After a few minutes, remove the bag from the water with tongs, and pinch the ends of the salmon while still in the bag. If it begins to flake away, the filet is cooked and is ready to serve medium rare. For medium or medium well, place the bag back in the water for a few more minutes.
Now that you have a few cooking hacks under your belt, you can skip the pricey plated dinner and host your own gourmet meal right in your apartment home.

Highland Haus

Jul 17

How to Get Rid of Mosquitoes

The beautiful weather in the summer makes you want to be outside all day and all night, but your enjoyment of the outdoors can easily be ruined by the appearance of mosquitoes. These bloodsucking flying pests seek out human hosts to feed on, but you have a few options to help keep your cookouts and pool days bug-free.

The easiest way to get rid of mosquitoes is to eliminate the places they can breed. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in and around standing water, the bugs need only a small pool or puddle (around 6 inches in diameter and ½ inch deep at a minimum). Look for and drain any flower pots, decorative buckets or dishes, and even tarps that might cover your grill or yard items; if the tarp is loose, water can pool in the folds.

If there are troublesome spots that seem to fill with water no matter what you do, look for “mosquito dunks,” or “mosquito bits.” These come in a small ring or handful of pellets that you drop right into the water, and they kill off the mosquito larva. They contain a biologic pesticide, mostly a bacteria that feeds on the larva, and are safe for children, pets and other wildlife.

If you are already in the midst of an infestation, there are a couple of ways to keep the bugs at bay.

Using essential oils, or burning a candle loaded with essential oils, is a time-tested method to keep insects away. Look for citronella or lemon eucalyptus oils, available as an oil, a spray or in candle form.

However, there might be an easier solution that could help keep flying bugs from pestering you. An electric fan could be the key to keeping your cookout bug-free. Mosquitoes and flies are not the strongest flyers, so a simple oscillating fan can help push them away from people and food. Additionally, mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide that we exhale, as well as other scents released when we sweat. A fan might help disperse these fumes, so you will be less of a target for the biting insects.

If all else fails, it’s time to reach for the bug spray, which can give you a few hours respite from the bloodsuckers. Look for sprays that contain DEET or picaridin, two formulations that are reported as highly effective scientific studies and customer reviews. Picaridin is recommended especially if you find that a spray with DEET irritates your skin. Look for products that contain 15 to 30 percent DEET or 20 percent picaridin. Follow the safety instructions on any bug spray you buy and apply.

Jul 17

Summer Cleaning

Maybe you waited a little too long for spring cleaning, or maybe the warm weather and outdoor activities set back all your progress. Either way, use these tips to try to conquer the clutter and survive the summer.

Clean out your fridge

When you are piling up the meats, plates and condiments for a backyard barbecue, take stock of what you are bringing outside, and what you are leaving. Can’t remember how old that bottle of mustard is, and whether it is from this summer or the one before? Ditch it and pick up a fresh bottle, you and your guests’ taste buds will thank you. Did you buy that jar of relish for a family member who was in town, but no one in your house will touch the stuff? Ditch it. Check the fridge and freezer for items that have seen better days, odds are that you’ll never use that frozen chicken breast from 2014.

Make sure your tools are up for the job.

At the end of last summer, maybe you left out your barbecuing tools, or just a stray spatula or pair of tongs. Depending on where you live, the fall and winter might have left your tools warped, rusted or broken. Now it’s time to treat yourself to some new tools. This also applies to any other gear that may have spent the winter outside and has been rendered unusable. If your grill has succumbed to rust, it might be time to get a new one.

In the same vein, look around your kitchen and house for things that may have seen better days. Is there Tupperware or other food storage containers in your fridge or cabinet that might have taken on some funky odors? Are your other containers a jumbled mess of missing lids and mismatched pieces? A simple refresh of your food storage containers can help you become more efficient and safer when it comes to your leftovers and packed lunches

Prepare for mosquitoes and flying pests

While not technically summer cleaning, everyone knows the warm weather brings an increase in flying pests. Whether they are out for your food or your blood, use these tips to try and keep them away.

The easiest way to get rid of mosquitoes is to eliminate the places they can breed. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in and around standing water, the bugs need only a small pool or puddle (around 6 inches in diameter and ½ inch deep at a minimum). Look for and drain any flower pots, decorative buckets or dishes, and even tarps that might cover your grill or yard items; if the tarp is loose, water can pool in the folds.

Using essential oils, or burning a candle loaded with essential oils, is a time-tested method to keep insects away. Look for citronella or lemon eucalyptus oils, available as an oil, a spray or in candle form.

If you find that mosquitoes and flies are becoming an unbearable nuisance, a lot of experts are offering up a simple solution: an electric fan. Mosquitoes and flies are not particularly strong fliers, so a ceiling fan or rotating fan should be able to disrupt them on their path to you or your food. The fans also help dissipate your human odors and the carbon dioxide that you breathe out, two ways mosquitoes know where you are. Finally, that fan will provide a welcome breeze to get you through even the hottest days.

May 17

Nontraditional Ways to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo

May 5th is Cinco de Mayo. This holiday commemorates a military victory that took place during the Franco-Mexican War in which the outnumbered Mexican troops halted France’s army. Festivities in U.S. communities with high Mexican-American populations tend to be bigger than those in Mexico (Cinco de Mayo is a minor holiday in its native country) and are often full of parades and historic reenactments of the battle. In fact, the prevalence of Cinco de Mayo in the U.S. just goes to show how much of an influence Mexican culture has had on its neighboring country. If you’re observing the holiday, here are four ways to honor it:

1. Color your home
Mexico celebrates Cinco de Mayo with colors galore, including, of course, red, green and white. Bring the joy of the holiday to your home by sporting bright and saturated tones. While the colors of the Mexican flag are a good place to start, yellow, pink, orange and blue are also up for grabs.

One way to bring the brilliant hues into your home and also enjoy spring, is to decorate with fresh Cinco de Mayo flowers. Any brightly colored bouquet will make a beautiful addition to the festivities.

2. Prepare an authentic meal
The conflict that took place on Cinco de Mayo in 1862 is also known as the Battle of Puebla, named after the town where the event occurred. Many celebrations of Mexico’s victory include dishes native to the area, such as mole poblano. After all, according to Business Insider, Puebla is the foodie capital of Mexico, so whipping up traditional cuisine is both a tasty and appropriate way enjoy the day.

Chicken tinga, chalupas and molotes are all other iconic foods to try on Cinco de Mayo. Do some research into ingredients that are native to Puebla to plan your menu.

3. Go to a museum
To truly understand the history of Cinco de Mayo, or to better appreciate Mexican culture, consider seeking out a Mexican-American museum or cultural center in your community. See if the locale is holding any festivities or hosting special exhibits. If not, you can still learn a lot from the material already available.

This is also a great celebration option for families with kids, as your little ones will have the opportunity to explore a new culture. Call the museum ahead of time to see if it has programs for kids. You can also create a worksheet before going to the museum for your children to fill out while you’re there.

4. Enjoy local festivities
In addition to observing Mexican culture by visiting a museum, you can experience Mexican-American traditions by checking out festivities where you live. Whether it’s attending a parade or watching a re-enactment of the Battle of Puebla, you’re sure to find something new and exciting if you live in a diverse community.

If your town doesn’t observe Cinco de Mayo with as much flair, you can watch parades on TV or online to enjoy the celebrations.

5. Attend a concert
Discover another part of Mexican culture by attending a concert. Not only will seeing live mariachi give you more insight into Mexican culture, but it also supports the artists and can be a fun time – few things are more energizing than live music.

Apr 17

Things You Can Donate To Goodwill

Spring has sprung and for many residents, de-cluttering is a big part of the Spring Cleaning task. Purging your unwanted or unnecessary items is a great way to cleanse not only your home, but your soul. But what do you do with all of the excess stuff? Consider donating your items to Goodwill. Goodwill isn’t just another Thrift Store; the non-profit has helped hundreds of thousands of people “reach their full potential through education, skills training, and the power of work.” Your donations will contribute to this mission!

Before you donate, however, be sure to inspect your items for stains or tears, make sure they have all their pieces and parts, and that they are in good working order. While Goodwill will occasionally accept items that don’t meet these standards, your items will do the most good if they do.

As long as your items are in good condition, Goodwill will accept most household stuff, but you’ll want to call ahead for a few things. Check out their guidelines below before dropping off your items:

Accepted items:

shoes and boots
hats, gloves, mittens and scarves
books, records, compact disks, video tapes and DVDs
games, toys, and sport equipment
dishes, glassware, and kitchen utensils
small appliances
collectibles, antiques, knickknacks
hand tools and small power tools
linens, curtains, and blankets
stereos, radios, VCRs, DVD players
Call before donating:

personal computers
computer accessories
flat-panel monitor HDTVs
dressers, tables, chairs, sofas and bed frames

Highland Haus

Mar 17

Welcome to Highland Haus

We love city living! There are so many factors contributing to the undeniable energy of our urban lifestyle. Whether one prioritizes the proximity to work or recreation, there are countless attractions – culture, nightlife, restaurants, sports, and parks, and events in every direction.

And, as we know here at Highland Haus, our list of benefits goes even further. Even leaving aside all of the incredible, modern amenities of our brand new, state-of-the-art building, Patterson Park and Highlandtown offer the ideal starting points for many adventures.

Nestled conveniently amidst all the action but far enough from the traffic, we’re just minutes away from downtown and the Inner Harbor attractions to the west, easy access to Interstate 95 to the east, and a stone’s throw away from Patterson Park! Our neighborhood has everything that city life has to offer along with easy access to Interstates 95 and 895 to exploit any destinations outside of our fair city as well.

Be sure to stay tuned to our new blog for information about upcoming events, local attractions, and ideas for your well-deserved leisure time. We’ll explore the neighborhood and beyond together, perpetually reinforcing your great decision to make Highland Haus your home. Written by a long-time Baltimore resident, this blog will be yet another in the long list of amenities that make this the perfect home-base for all of your upcoming adventures.

*** We would love to hear about some of your favorite places to go or things to do in the Downtown Baltimore area. Reply to our post and tell us all about it!

Highland Haus

Mar 17

4 Foam Roller Exercises For Your Apartment

Foam Roller Lower Back
Foam rolling — where you literally roll your muscles on a piece of foam to help loosen them up — might not be the most “showy” exercise on the planet (hello weightlifting), but it can play an important role in keeping your muscles loose, thereby reducing soreness and helping avoid injury. If you’re searching for a way to help yourself stretch, you should consider adding foam rolling to your routine. Regularly rolling your muscles out can help you maintain flexibility and your range of motion too. Certified trainer Robbie Davis, who started his career 20 years ago working with the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team, has created these four exercises that apartment renters who live in small spaces can perform. If you do these exercises a few times per week, expect to notice a significant difference in the way you move, says Davis. Consider rolling before or after exercise.

What you’ll need: a soft, carpeted area or a yoga mat, and a foam roller.

General tips: You’ll want to ensure you have proper positioning before you start rolling. It’s also important to roll slowly to allow your muscles to release.

Foam Roller Calves

Sit upright on the floor with your legs out in front of you so your body makes an “L” shape. Slide the foam roller underneath your legs so it rests right below your calves near your ankles. Place your hands flat on the ground on either side of you, and lift your weight off the ground. Slowly push yourself forward and backward, rolling up and down both your calf muscles.

Tip: For added intensity, cross your feet and focus on each leg individually.

Foam Roller Quads

Lie on the floor face down and place the foam roller between the ground and the area right above your knees. Be careful not to roll directly on the knee. Plant your hands in a push-up position, lifting yourself up so only your hands touch the ground. Use your upper-body strength to move your body back and forth, rolling across your quads.

Tip: For added intensity, cross one foot behind the opposite knee so your legs make the number “4” and focus on one leg at a time.

Foam Roller ITBands
IT Bands

Before we get into the specifics of this exercise, we want to give you some background information on your IT bands. Your iliotibial band, or IT band, is a ligament that starts at the side of your hip and ends at your shin. Tight IT bands can contribute to injuries and can be painful too.

Turn so you’re lying on your left side, then push your upper body up with your left hand so you’re resting on your left elbow. Bend your right knee and plant your foot on the ground in front of your left knee. Lift up off your hip and place the foam roller at the top of your IT band, or just below your hip. Push your body forward and backward, slowly rolling along your IT band. Repeat on the right side.

Tip: For added intensity, press firmly against the roller, inching along any tight spots.

Foam Roller Foot

Stand up straight and place the foam roller under one bare foot. Push into the roller as your foot rolls up and down, working the heel, arch and sole. Repeat on the opposite foot. It’s best to stand near a wall if both feet are on the roller so you can catch yourself should you fall. Keep one foot on the ground if balancing is something you struggle with.

Tip: For added intensity, angle the foot to roll along your instep or the arched middle part of your foot.

Highland Haus

Feb 17

Spend More on these Things


Crossing the threshold into adulthood is signified by many telling things. Paying off a constant bombardment of bills, for instance — and reckoning with forces like quickly decelerating metabolisms and heartburn (after just two slices of pizza, at that).

It’s also marked by a slow-but-sure learning process where habits shift — where you begin to optimize your routines, learn what to invest time and money on, and generally how to live better.

Figuring out all that stuff takes time, though, and it’s much easier to just ask other people who’ve been there, done that. So, from someone who’s been adulting for a few whole years now (and with plenty of advice from much more experienced adults), here are some of the things that are always worth the money.

Eating Well
I’ve never really found the “Think about what you put in your body!” admonishment compelling, since I often think that my body just wants a greasy cheeseburger. Instead, it’s more effective to remind myself that stateside healthcare is extremely costly, and maintaining long-term wellness will mitigate those expenses.

Spend more on meat raised without antibiotics, and use this guide to find seafood that’s raised or caught with minimal chemical use and damage to habitats. When it comes to produce, buying fresh, local, and in season will provide various benefits: Not only is it cost effective, but fruits and veggies are also at peak taste and vitamin content when they’re picked while ripe and consumed quickly, rather than being trundled cross-country on a truck.

Vending machine confections have passed their heyday: 40% of the snacks consumers carry these days are classified as healthy, and better-for-you snacks are readily available on supermarket shelves. If you’re craving something savory, reach for nutritious picks like seaweed snacks or dry-roasted edamame. For sweet treats, indulge in Nature Valley Granola Cups, which strike the perfect balance between creamy and crunchy, decadent (chocolate and nut butter!) and wholesome (whole-grain oats and nuts).


Cooking is a skill that’s worth investing time in, since it’s conducive both to saving money and eating healthier meals. Even if your cooking savvy is questionable, investing in a few good knives — or even just one chef’s knife, which are extremely versatile — will make a significant difference in the kitchen. Here’s a great guide to essential knives. A cast-iron skillet is another must-have; with proper care, the thing will last a lifetime, and it will only set you back about 20 bucks.

Stuff You Spend Your Nights On
Nights! They happens every 24 hours, and it’s in our best interest to spend most of them sleeping. According to The Handbook of Clinical Neurology, we spend a third of our lives sleeping, or trying to do so — all the more reason to invest in things that’ll make our beds more comfortable. Good mattresses will make a difference in your sleep quality, but they can be prohibitively expensive. Try retailers like Casper and Tuft & Needle, which offer 100-day trial periods before you decide whether or not to commit.

Another alternative is buying a mattress topper, which can elevate a sad bed without breaking your bank. The same philosophy applies when buying pillows, comforters, and sheets — quality products will make the difference between the feel of a cheap motel and a snug, serene sleep sanctuary. (A friend of mine even “has a guy” for quality sheets.) Another thing to consider: If you’re sharing a bed with a blanket-hogging partner, picking up an extra flat sheet and comforter might save your relationship.

Tools That’ll Make Your Home More Livable
There’s a reason that apartment maintenance, be it cleanliness or even interior decor, can cause so much strife between roommates and partners. Upkeep of a living space is important, and it’s psychologically beneficial to retreat to a place of comfort and belonging.

My roommates and I went through a series of cheap vacuums, which all disintegrated in a matter of weeks and ended up on the curb. We’ve since invested in a $200 vacuum that not only works better, but has already lasted us several years with no loss in efficacy — extra important, since I’m the mother to a furry pet.


A fancy surround-sound system isn’t necessary unless you’re a serious audiophile — but if you find yourself engaging in any type of passive listening (putting on podcasts or music while you perform chores, for instance), decent speakers are worth investing in. If you’re not sure where to start looking, a good portable bluetooth speaker is a breeze to use and will serve all of your basic audio needs.

Buy a heavy-duty toilet plunger before you need one. Have you ever lived with a serial toilet-and-drain–clogger? I have, and none of us were ready until it was too late. And while we’re on the topic of lavatorial habits — if you haven’t stocked your bathroom with strong, two-ply toilet paper, you’re not living your best life.

Highland Haus

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