Apr 18

NBA Playoffs

By: Jack Skolnik

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I will tell you one very important fact about me, I am a diehard basketball fan. So with the regular season at a close and the NBA playoffs beginning this week, I couldn’t think of a better topic to write about. This year’s playoffs will definitely be interesting to say the least. There were numerous big time headlines during the season that will continue to be big as we get into the playoffs.
Starting in the East you have the Raptors at the #1 seed as a lock. They have defied the odds all season and after some major changes to their style of play made by Coach Dwayne Casey, they look to prove the doubter wrong after years of underperforming in the playoffs. At the #2 seed you have the Boston Celtics who without Gordon Hayward have been one of the best teams in the league. However injuries may prove costly in the playoffs as they will be without superstar Kyrie Irving. After the #1 and #2 seed the rest of the east gets a little bit less defined. You have the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Philadelphia 76ers battling it out for the third seed. Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid have been unbelievable in their first full season in Philadelphia. However if basketball fans have learned one thing over the years, it is to never bet against Lebron James and the Cavaliers.
Then rounding it out in the bottom half are the Indiana Pacers at the #5 seed, the Miami Heat at the #6 seed, and then the Milwaukee Bucks and my Washington Wizards battling it out at the #8 seed. I must say this was a huge year of disappointment for my Wizards, a team that was projected to be a top 3 seed just could never put it together. I don’t see a lot of these bottom half teams making much noise in the playoffs. However a first round 2 vs 7 matchup will be interesting. With the Celtics taking on either the Bucks or the Wizards. I will say that either Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks or John Wall and the Wizards will make for a very entertaining series against Boston. Although a tough choice I can’t bet against the King, as I believe Lebron James and the Cavaliers will once again make it to the NBA finals.
Then you have the West. Boy oh boy are things getting interesting out west. Coming in at the #1 seed are the Houston Rockets who have finally dethroned the Warriors as the top team in the West. Watching James Harden and Chris Paul play together this year has been unbelievable. Plus with Clint Capela playing the way that he has been playing? Man are they scary. Coming in at the #2 seed are the defending champs, the Golden State Warriors. With how good they have been the past couple years it is hard to bet against them making it back to the finals. However without Steph Curry to start the playoffs they will have to rely heavily on Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and the rest of the gang. The Portland Trail Blazers are clinging on to the #3 seed after a red hot second half of the season led by all-star point guard Damian Lillard. An even bigger surprise is the 4 seed where we see the Utah Jazz. After starting the season 19-28 the Jazz have gone 29-7 since the return of Rudy Gobert.
The last four seeds however are where things get crazy. With five teams battling for the final four seeds. Right now all five teams are within a gamer of each other. Right now if the standings were to hold we would see the New Orleans Pelicans at the #5 seed. With an injury to all-star center Demarcus Cousins, the Pelicans will have to rely heavily on their other all-star, Anthony Davis. At the #6 seed we have the always dangerous San Antonio Spurs. Although without Kawhi Leonard all season the Spurs have proven how good they can be without him. Coming in at the #7 seed are the Oklahoma City Thunder. Although thought of by most to be an underwhelming season, Russell Westbrook, Paul George and the Thunder will look to regroup in the playoffs. Rounding out the West is the Minnesota Timberwolves, looking to make the playoffs for the first time since 2004. With newly acquired all-star Jimmy Butler, a first round Timberwolves vs. Rockets would be fun to watch.
So with that you have the playoff race in both the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference. As usual I am sure there will be no shortage of great playoff basketball to watch. With all that being said I already said I have the Cleveland Cavaliers making the finals out of the East and I am going to take the Houston Rockets out of the West. I think this is the year that the Golden State Warriors finally go down. If the Warriors are going to lose at all I think it will be against the Rockets in Western Conference Finals. Then in the finals I am going to take the Rockets to be crowned as champions this year. With the roster that they have I feel that if they can get past the Warriors than the Rockets have a great chance of winning it all. Regardless of who makes it there I think we are all in for an entertaining 2018 NBA playoffs.

Mar 18

Best Tech for Spring Cleaning

This is 2018, there’s pretty much nothing you can’t do without the assistance of technology. The same holds true for something as simple as spring cleaning. There are all kinds of gadgets to make the work easier, and apps to make the job organized. Take a look at the ones we’ve gathered below and choose your favorites when tackling the dreaded (or anticipated) deep clean of your apartment:

Cleaning Checklist helps you organize and manage household cleaning tasks and activities. Pick a room, select the task, and check it off when complete. Voilà!

BrightNest is for those who don’t even know where to start. This app is full of useful tips for cleaning specific parts of your home, like how to remove toilet stains or what essential oils keep your garbage disposal smelling fresh.

ChoreBank is great if you have kids that want to help. Assign a monetary value or activity reward to each chore and make virtual deposits to your child’s account. You can even text reminders to your kids!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of Roomba, the house-cleaning robot. These bad boys can run upwards of $900, but critics claim it’s well worth the price.

Allergy sufferers: this one’s for you. Nothing says spring cleaning like purified breathing air. Molekule is the latest in air purification systems that is not only effective, but smart and innovative.

We stumbled upon a nifty little (affordable!) gadget that attaches to any standard household vacuum. The Dusty-Brush consists of dozens of tiny vacuum tubes that pick up dust and debris while leaving behind the important stuff, like nuts & bolts, craft supplies, and other small objects. Perfect for those hard-to-reach places like vents and the back of the pantry.

Highland Haus

Mar 18

March Madness

Well, it’s finally here. The time that everyone has been waiting for. Every basketball fan’s dream. Yup, March Madness is upon us. This blog is being written the day after Selection Sunday, everyone’s first taste as to what this year’s tournament will look like. There were some interesting seeding situations, but for the most part I think the NCAA did a nice job. The four #1 seeds for this year’s tournament are Kansas, Xavier, Villanova and Virginia, with Virginia being the #1 overall team in the country and the tournament. Speaking of Virginia, I do have to give a major shout-out to their first round matchup, the #16 seed UMBC Retrievers. As a Baltimore native it is great to see UMBC back in the tournament after a ten year hiatus. A major congratulations to Coach Ryan Odom, star player Jarius Lyles, and the rest of the team.
As for the rest of the tournament there will be no shortage of must-see games in the first round. As I sit here filling out my bracket, there is a lot of thought that must go into this. It’s hard for me not to fall in love with Oklahoma and Trae Young as a #10 seed in the Midwest. With player of year material written all over him I actually took Young and Oklahoma as the team to take down Duke in the second round (as much as I love coach K you have to root against Duke as a Maryland native, right?). For me, there were a few no brainers. Such as Virginia and Kansas making it to the final four. However, there were a couple tough choices I had to make besides the Oklahoma/Duke matchup. Although I have them making it to the elite eight, it’s still a struggle for me to see Xavier making a lot of noise past that, as I have them losing to UNC. Another one was in the sweet sixteen where I have Villanova and West Virginia in the East region. I am a huge fan of Coach Bob Huggins so it was very difficult for me to pick Villanova, even with their #1 seed. But I do have faith in Coach Jay Wright and the Wildcats.
All in all it was as tough a bracket to fill out. After a long afternoon I came out with my picks, a few upsets, a few non-upsets and everything in between. I came out with a final four of Virginia, UNC, Texas Tech, and Kansas. I then have Virginia advancing to the championship over UNC and in the other game I have Texas Tech advancing over Kansas to avenge a loss just a few weeks ago. It was a tough decision in the champion game, but my choice for the 2018 NCAA champion is…. TEXAS TECH!! I am sure that is not the choice you were expecting, as Tech has struggled a bit as of recent, with key injuries to star player Kenan Evans. However I feel like if Evans and the Red Raiders can get back into form with a first and second round win, they will get back to early season form and make a serious run. Besides, who doesn’t love a feel-good Cinderella story? Team comes out playing really well in the beginning of the season, then some key players get hurt and they struggle for a while, but then they get it together to win a National Championship? The Red Raiders are all in!
Everybody who loves college basketball loves upsets and loves Cinderella stories, and I feel like this year will be no different. With the first few games looming it’s going to be a great year for March Madness. Put on your seat belt folks, because it’s going to be another wild ride in March!

Feb 18

Why Leap Year?

Calm down, calm down, it’s not a leap year. That won’t happen until 2020 when we see another election and the Summer Olympics. We just got to thinking one day….why leap year?

The origins of the leap year date back to 46 BC, when Julius Caesar—under the influence of Sosigenes of Alexandria—introduced the Julian calendar. According to them, a year was considered to be not just 365 days, but actually 365.25 days (hence the need for a leap day/year). But what they didn’t realize is that the Tropical year (the time it takes the planet to make one revolution around the sun) is actually slightly less than that (about 365.242), and over a period of 400 years, the Julian calendar would end up having an extra 3 days. This meant certain astronomical events, like the Vernal Equinox, and festivals associated with such evens, like Easter, occurred out of sync with respect to their fixed dates.

By the year 1582, the difference in time had accumulated, and the calendar had fallen so out of sync with the Tropical year, it was off by 10 days! To fix this, Pope Gregory XIII—under the influence of astronomer Christopher Clavis—produced the modern Gregorian calendar we know today to correct this error by simply omitting those 10 days. Which meant that after Thursday, October 4, 1582, the next day was Friday, October 15, 1582. Which meant October 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, in 1582 technically never happened. Google it! Apparently there were riots in Europe because people felt like 10 days were taken away from their lives. Crazy.

Anyway, that’s why we have a leap year. But to compensate for the extra 3 days every 400 years, the Pope also added a rule that every century which is not divisible by 400 will not be a leap year. So the year 2000 was a Leap Year, but 2100 won’t be. Makes sense, right?

Note: even the Gregorian calendar is still off. Every 3236 years, the calendar gains an extra day.

Highland Haus

Feb 18

DIY Valentine’s Cards

Valentine’s Day can be expensive. The flowers, the chocolates, the romantic dinners. But at least you can save yourself some cash by making your own card. Just grab some construction paper and a set of markers (or, use plain white paper and a pen to really drive home your lack of enthusiasm for the holiday). We’ve found the perfect greetings for your significant other or your BFF, but feel free to use any of these from one category to the next:


This Rose is way better than any wilting flower.

May the inhaler be with you.

You’re the [Christmas] light of my life.


Or at the dinner table. Or in the car. Or at my parents’ house.

Most people anyway. Tom Hanks may have a leg up on you, but he’s the only one.

When worlds collide.


I feel like I can communicate with you with simply a look.

The ultimate bromance.

And so much more.

Highland Haus

Jan 18

Perks of Downsizing

Downsizing ain’t easy. Moving from a house to a new apartment can provide you with a brand-new start, but it may also come with many changes that can feel foreign or overwhelming. Change doesn’t have to be scary, though, here are a couple of the biggest things you can expect when you make the leap from house to apartment — and a look at how you can make the most of these opportunities!

Planning to Downsize
All you need to do is go on Pinterest or browse the magazine rack at the local market to find thousands of ideas about how to improve your life through downsizing. Lucky for you, downsizing is just part of the deal when you move from a house to an apartment. Here’s a closer look at how your new lifestyle embraces this trend.

Less space:
One of the most obvious changes you’ll encounter when you move from a house to an apartment is less living space. Apartments are designed for efficiency, which means that overall square footage will be less and individual rooms will be smaller.

Rethink your furniture —that oversized sofa may need to be traded for a sleeker version that fits better in your new space. The upside is that you have the perfect excuse to go shopping and play with a whole new look for your new home.

Limited storage:
You’ll probably have to take a good, hard look at everything that’s currently living in a closet, cupboard, or drawer, and decide whether or not you can live without it. Some new renters use this opportunity to declutter their lives, while others learn to love the world of storage units.

It can be revitalizing to get rid of extra baggage you’ve been holding on to simply because you have a place for it to hang out. But if you have items you can’t bear to part with (Grandma’s china), it’s pretty affordable to rent a storage unit where your precious mementos will be safe and sound.

Consider Community Perks
If you’re conflicted about saying goodbye to your house, our sweet apartment bonuses may help you greet apartment life with open arms.

A pool, hot tub, fitness room, and someone else to worry about landscaping and lawn care —what’s not to love? One of the biggest perks of going from house to apartment living is the resort-like amenities that many communities offer.

Be prepared to take full advantage of these extras. Community amenities provide the chance to relax, stay in shape, and make new friends who live just down the hall.

Living in close quarters with neighbors adds a lot of extra safety. It’s easier to get to know neighbors and spot when someone is lurking around who doesn’t belong.

In addition, some rental communities have security guards or extra measures like pass cards or security codes to enter buildings and communal areas. Ask the landlord what sorts of security is in place when you take a tour of the premises; you may be pleasantly surprised at the safety measures you’ll get for little to no added cost.

No matter the reason you’re moving from a house to an apartment, this change can be exciting. Prepare yourself to embrace apartment living and know what to expect by doing some thorough research before signing that lease.

Jan 18

Maximizing Space

Living in a space less than 1,200 square feet would be unfathomable to some people, but to you it means that you’ve chosen to reside in one of the greatest cities in the country. The Overlook is a modern and upscale apartment community centralized in the dynamic area of Camp Hill and Harrisburg, where everything you could possibly need or want is right outside your door. But the law of supply & demand dictates this location comes at a cost of vast living quarters. Luckily, we’ve listed tips on ways to maximize the space you do have and continue to enjoy living in your apartment.

1. Storage is the key to happiness
As much as possible, keep items concealed and out of view for an uncluttered look.Closet storage is best. To maximize it, be careful of closet organizers. These can actually take up more space if not planned properly. Regular shoeboxes, meanwhile, take up a minimal amount in a closet and can be stacked tighter for better use of space. Consolidate all of your travel items into your suitcase and store in there — this makes packing faster and easier when you are ready for a quick getaway (see Tip 10).
Use tote bags, which hold tons of stuff and can be monogrammed or labeled for easy identification. These are also easy to move for cleaning, and since they’re made of fabric, they give more flexibility in tighter space. This is a great way to store magazines or books.

When you don’t cook, use your stove as a storage area – it has adjustable shelves and can provide much-needed space (just remember to take your stuff out again before preheating!).

2. Adopt a chic, clean & stylish design
Be sure that your apartment has an aesthetic. Play with color and accessories; don’t be afraid to use them. Design elements aren’t just for mansions. If you’re lacking closets or cabinets, create a storage/display making your space both decorative and functional. So many couture items such as vintage handbags, shoes, ties, and scarves are actually pieces of usable art. A smaller space can be a more opulent space.

3. Buy multifunctional furniture
Use a bed that has storage drawers underneath. Some have found that the drawers on the bottom actually had more space than a dresser, and free up a ton of floor space.
Ottomans and stools can convert from storage cubes to tables to additional seating.

4. Forget about room dividers, go for artwork instead
Use art to section off areas of the room instead of room dividers. These dividers often make the room look much more cramped and disrupt the flow of good energy through the apartment. Using art to differentiate spaces makes your apartment feel bigger and more open.

5. Be obsessively organized
When closets and cabinets are overflowing, it’s time to clean and reorganize. In a small apartment, you often find that you don’t have that catchall space that you do with a larger apartment. Mail must be sorted each day and laundry must be done on a regular basis. Once a routine is established, you’ll find that — just like your space — your time becomes more efficient.

6. Buy only what you love and purge often
After living for a few years with less space, you tend to buy only what you really need or really love, eliminating trends or donating them when the trend is over. Buying quality instead of quantity makes your dollar stretch further in the long run. And being on your fashion game in one of the most stylish cities in the world is a bonus. Owning one pair of great shoes is better than owning twelve pairs of mediocre ones.

7. Use every square inch
It’s not the amount of space, but how the space functions that matters. Make use of every square inch.
Many people have a guest room and they use it once a year when that friend comes to town. In fact, most people actually use only 20% of their house. But not you. You’re utilizing every last bit. Live simpler.

8. Do cost comparisons
When you start to get apartment envy and consider moving to a larger space, talk to your friends with bigger apartments and you’ll quickly realize their rent and utility bills are much higher than yours. Living in a smaller space, the costs are lower.

9. Travel as often as your schedule and budget permits
Go out of town at least five times per year, or as often as your schedule permits. This is a nice break and change of scenery. Friends will love to visit you, because you’re in one of the best cities on Earth. People in other parts of the country have 2-3 guest rooms, and no one ever goes to visit. It’s a good reminder that your piece of heaven is a sanctuary no matter the size.

Highland Haus

Jan 18

Best Dog Breeds for Your Apartment

Thinking about adopting a dog? If you didn’t already know, we are a pet friendly community; in fact, we LOVE our furry residents. We have a few restricted breeds, however, so be sure to check with us before bringing home Fido. While almost any dog can potentially make a great apartment dog, we’ve narrowed down the breeds that, based on generalized demeanor, will be the best fit for your apartment.

These adorable little “hot dogs” are expert snugglers who love burrowing beneath blankets and cuddling up to their loved ones. The smallest of the hound breeds, they do enjoy a good run – but the bonus here is that with legs just a few inches long, you can give them all the toy-fetching exercise they need right in the house!

Bichon Frise
Fluffy, French and altogether fashionable in appearance, Bichons shed very little, though they will need regular grooming to stay kempt. Energetic, loving and bright, the Bichon makes a wonderful companion. While they do enjoy a walk, they’re happy to be little movie-watching couch potatoes, as well.

Chinese Crested
These interesting-looking little love dogs come in a powderpuff and hairless variety. The hairless are very easy to maintain, as you might imagine – though they can get cold and should own a few sweaters! Weighing up to 12 pounds, they of course need regular walks but don’t require a large amount of exercise and do very well in apartments.

Miniature Pinscher
These dogs are like giant Dobermans that have been hit with a shrink ray! Miniature Pinschers (or Min-Pins, as they are often called) have a similar appearance to the Doberman, but are actually a distinct and older breed. Standing roughly 10”-12” tall at the shoulder, these tiny titans average out to about 11 pounds, and make wonderful watchdogs, as they’re alert and suspicious. Also adorable.

Shiba Inu
Are you an experienced dog owner who loves taking your dog out for exercise? If so, the foxy-looking Shiba, which hails from Japan, often makes one of the best apartment dogs! Shibas have lots of energy, so if running – either in tandem or turning your pup loose at the dog park – on a daily basis sounds like you, this is definitely a breed to consider.

We know. You’re probably thinking, ‘How can these dogs – with their racing backgrounds – be one of the best dog breeds for apartments?!’ But they are! Long, lanky and content to be lazy, the only thing greyhounds may demand of you is more couch space. They actually need very little exercise or grooming, and they’re wonderfully easygoing and quickly trained. What’s more, greyhounds are plentiful in rescues nationwide, and thus affordable to obatin.

Want a true couch potato? These wrinkly little lovers may not look like lap dogs, but as far as they’re concerned, they definitely are. Quiet, friendly and loving, bulldogs enjoy a good romp, but they’re fairly low-energy and very content loafing about with their loved ones . . . and a cozy apartment would suit just fine.

Highland Haus

Dec 17

Best Apps for Roommates

Living with a roommate can be a great experience, but sometimes troubles arise when it’s time to pay the bills. Luckily, there are apps that help make your living situation a little easier. Check out the following apps that will help you and your roommate stay on track for groceries, rent, debt owed, and more:

Splitwise helps to ensure everyone gets paid back and is completely free to use on your computer, iPhone, or Android. It tallies up all your IOUs so you can reimburse in one big payment. This is great when you’re having to pay for rent that isn’t all inclusive. You can also set up reminders to help you keep up with payments by uploading expenses and sharing with your roomies.

Venmo is probably the most popular among the money-sending app variety. You can easily add a bank account or debit card and transfer money between roommates at no extra charge. You can also keep money in your Venmo account to use towards your bills. Venmo is totally free and easy as long as both parties involved have the app. It’s also a great way to send birthday money or split dinner!

IOU is your personal debt manager! You can upload expenses, share them among your housemates and even send each other email reminders about payments. You can add recurring IOUs for monthly bills and create payment plans for bigger purchases. It’s really easy to keep track of everything with a record of your debt history. Avoid confusion and fights about who paid who back, when you can refer back to the app.

Splitrr is extremely easy and convenient to use because there is no login required, it works completely offline and supports all currencies. It will help tell you who is next to pay and who owes whom money. You can generate a PDF to email to your roomies to keep up to date. This app also works wonders for planning weekend trips and vacations!

So what if you and your roomies share groceries? There’s an app for that! With OurGroceries you can easily make and change grocery lists, crossing off items as you purchase them. That way you don’t end up with double duty on shareable items like eggs, milk, and (of course) wine.

Highland Haus

Nov 17

Protect Your Apartment’s Wifi

With identity thieving at an all-time high, securing your personal information is more important than ever before, and it can start with something as simple as ensuring that your apartment’s wifi password security, as well as your other passwords, are strong enough. But how do you create a secure password?

The Three Essential Rules to Creating a Secure Password

Though passwords may seem like a hassle to remember, they’re a hugely necessary inconvenience. According to cybersecurity company, they’re essential in the fight against someone stealing your data or even your identity. In order to ensure your password security, start by keeping these three rules in mind:

Passwords should be complex and long
While this may make your password more difficult to remember, it also makes it more difficult for a hacker to guess. Aim for a password that’s at least 8 characters long, includes both upper and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters such as %, # or &.
Passwords should not be easy to guess
It’s always tempting to use something simple like “password1” or even “123456,” but that’s one of the worst things you can do. Sequential numbers are actually the worst for hacks, according to SplashData, who collect information on data breaches. In fact, in 2015, “123456” was the most commonly used password found in hacks for the 5th year running.
Use a different password for every account
Using the same password for all of your accounts is just asking for trouble. Oftentimes during major data breaches, hackers will try using acquired passwords on other accounts just to see if they’ll work, meaning they could possibly gain access to your important financial information. If your memory just isn’t built for that kind of thing, try using one of the top password managers to ensure your password security.
How Do I Know If I Have a Bad Password?

Here is SplashData’s top 25 list of most commonly used–bad–passwords. If you are using any of these, change it. Now.

password 1
Instead, use these 3 simple tips for a better password:

Use passwords or passphrases of twelve characters or more with mixed types of characters
Avoid using the same password over and over again on different websites
Use a password manager such as TeamsID to oranize and protect passwords, generate random ones, and automatically log into websites
So what’s the best way to choose a secure password?

Choose a phrase with at least 8 words: This is my favorite sandwich in the world
Take the first letter of each word: timfsitw
Switch one (or two) to an uppercase: TimFsitw
Switch one to a number: T1mFsitw
Switch one to a special character: T1mF$itw
Add something unique from each site (i.e. add a “b” for banking, and “f” for Facebook, etc.)

Highland Haus

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