The Keys to Finding your Next Apartment

Location/Price/Size:

Of course when you’re moving, you’ll have an idea of why and where you want or need to be living. Location is most important factor when choosing a new apartment because you’ll be there for at least 6-12 months or longer if you choose to re-sign. 
Price is also going to be one of the major key elements; maybe there’s a strict budget or you have some wiggle room. Either way you need to be diligent about price and discuss with your partner/spouse or roommates about finances. It’s important to be up front and very honest about it.
You have to be realistic about square footage, number of rooms, how many bathrooms, amount of closet space, as well as storage spaces like cabinets and drawers and storage closet (if available) you’ll truly need.  Know what you have and if anything downsize & declutter before moving-it will help you a TON. A lot of new tenants aren’t allowed to make many adjustments to the space however it’s a great practice to be smart with organizing clutter and also using wall space in a tactful way(vertical not just horizontal). 

Applications/fee, Deposit-first last month’s/credit check, Pet fees, utilities:

Step one in moving is taking tours and physically seeing the space. If and when you like an apartment (or condo/house etc) then you have to apply for it. Put in your application ASAP! Applicants are vicious at some nicer complexes and will snatch a unit from under you without a deposit down or unit being held (this happened in my experience twice). When you fill out the application, make sure you print neatly and if you mess up; either A) very carefully use white out and write clearly over or to the side of the mistake or B) start over on a fresh application  if it can’t be fixed.

DO NOT PUT YOUR IDENTIFYING INFORMATION on it until the end especially YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER! For fear of it falling into the wrong hands besides your hands or your managers hands…BE CAREFUL! 

But also don’t forget to sign the bottom and bring with you any needed documents like bills for identification, pay stubs or bank statements for income verification and an ID (of some sort). Usually application fees are no more than 20-40$ a piece, if at all.
Have an idea of your credit score beforehand- you don’t need to know this particularly but you’ll have a deposit based on credit so be realistic about what that number may be. They can run anywhere from like 300$- 2x the full rent amount (is what I’ve seen on Oregon applications). Sometimes it’s one full month rent or even first and last months rent OR a flat rate deposit based on your credit.
Pet fees are a big part too when you have a kitty or your best friend fido, you’ll want to bring them with you. These days it is expensive to bring your buddies along with you to a new place-I don’t know if every state has “pet rent” but usually you’ll at least be hit with a not-so-friendly deposit for your furry pal too. I know most major cities are initiating these fees, especially in big time NYC or Seattle. 
Utilities are another monthly expense (most places don’t cover for W/S/G (water, sewer, garbage), so if anything one maybe comped but don’t go in expecting anything. Count these in addition to your rent and pet fees expenses could be upwards of 50$ or more depending on where you live.

Quiet community V.S louder kid friendly complex:

As far as this goes- you need to know what type of person you are. You may not have all the control in the world over this but, to an extent you do. If you are a family of four, you won’t mind having lots of kids and a more active community around you. But if you are a single adult, a quiet older couple or a pair who just isn’t about kids then you’ll want a much quieter complex. In your search be mindful of places that are loud and active versus more quiet and reserved. We personally don’t like to hear  screaming, some badly behaved kids constantly and have to deal with many families in the pool for instance but you don’t have much control over it. So I always just ask what the manager thinks and if we can get a unit in a quieter building.

Hard floors/Laminate V.S Carpet:

This is a main point of a residence and he floors you have really set the stage for your apartment. If you have kids then you’ll want more carpet for falls and playtime. If you have dogs or cats then maybe hard floors might be a better option. There are often many options in an apartment and this may play more into what you’re looking for in a place. I find hard floors a little more difficult to clean the dust bunnies and get the corners spic and span but also impossible to keep nice clean carpets with dogs- so weigh your options and take it into account while visiting spaces. I love using Swiffer products on my floors and Dyson vacuum for carpet. I would highly recommend a Dyson vacuum, they are worth the money and you’ll want to use it for everything. 

In Unity Laundry OR Laundry Room separate outside space: 

I always prefer having my own laundry in unit. Sometimes it’s not possible and having a laundry room outdoors is usually what people would get stuck with. The moving of everyone’s clothes, having to pay coins for it, and going up and down floors with your laundry is a hassle.
Having an in hall laundry area is somewhat of the same problem. It’s always in the way, you’ll have clothes everywhere and moving them up and down (usually in a stack able version) isn’t the best for your back.
But those who can be blessed with an in-unit laundry room (small or large) will certainly appreciate some place to get rid of those stinky clothes, somewhere to get those spots out and a place to fold and sort. Handy too when you can do laundry in your own space at any hour. Do your best to also keep your laundry space clean and maintain as pests can get in through walls or where the connections come through. Wipe down your appliances every week or two in order to keep them looking nice and clean and working properly. You can also do a vinegar and hot water rinse cycle to “disinfect” your machine. 

Renters insurance, Mold/Mildew/Pests, Late Fees etc:

Important things you need to know before moving into a new place. Renters insurance is required everywhere and there’s no need to have an over expensive coverage usually it’s required for 100K worth of renters insurance for a year time span. I go through Assurant and they have me on a plan that’s about $15 a month (which is normal for Oregon state) around $180 for the whole year to cover costs if any damages should occur. Believe me if a fire or something does happen you’ll be thankful that you had that coverage.
Mold/Mildew and Pests will and do often happen. Just ask your manager and go over these points in your rental contract. Usually it states that they will come and clean mold as it occurs and because it can make you very sick- it needs to be carefully cleaned with bleach and blocked from more moisture getting inside to create moldy areas (door seals, windows, bathtubs etc.). Pests are another story- I would think that a maintenance person or manager would cover that as well but I can’t speak for all properties. I know our complex here has a “pests day” where you can make appointments with an outside company if such a need occurs.
The penalty for not paying rent on time or past the rent pay days usually the 1st-the 5th. Late fees are usually anywhere between $50-150.

Gated V.S Non-gated: 

Gated and non-gated complexes, these are also nice to take into account. Honestly especially in a sketchy neighborhood- I’d rather be a little more protected from the outside population. Having a key card or gate key is nice and also a bother, if lost or stolen you’ll be paying for a 30-40$ key, because they are specially cut at the key maker. Unlike a normal door key lock they are more intricate and therefore cost more. But not gated can sometimes be more dangerous and strangers being even more loud and obnoxious.

Security number, access code to pool/office/bunkhouse, newsletter/special events and maintenance number:

Things you should know that you may not think about, make sure you get the number for security company if they have it or local police/non emergency line.
You’ll need pool access codes or key/key-card if needed and knowledge about who can and can’t come into the pool area. Some complexes do not allow guests or limit to one per resident. Pets are not allowed in pool and clubhouse areas. Knowing the hours of when the pool is open and exactly when it closes is good to know.
Office hours are a need to know basis and you should memorize them so you’ll know when you can get help to a problem or concern. Know who is the manager and what the policies are for living in that complex.
A newsletter goes around in some complexes to let you know what the happenings are- special days of the month, holidays, closed office days or events like Taco Tuesday!
Having the maintenance number is crucial because you’ll have accidents and things will happen in your new apartment. And although it looks shiny and new- it’s been lived in before, so truth is it has previous dents and dings. Don’t be scared to live in your space though despite breaking in your own apartment. I love to be in new shiny spaces but a cozy lived in place is just as nice too.

I hope that this is super helpful information! If any of this helped you or you want to pass onto someone else, I would really appreciate it. 
*This is all information I have learned over the years and is based on my knowledge in Oregon.*



Why I decided to become a Virtual Assistant

Learning Programs

I’m hoping through the process of it all which began way back in January, when I rebranded and envisioned something new for this blog. I started out with design in a tiny sense of the word- I learned a few components from my blog designer who created this beautiful piece on Etsy. I could customize certain aspects and so as I began writing I did change a few key parts. This continued to learning MailChimp, Hootsuite and Buffer now so my blog can reach more people who might enjoy not only my writing and personality but my insight I have from my life experiences. I know of a lot of helpful programs I’d love to look more into like ConvertKit for down the road, more designing programs like Adobe products and scheduling tools like Tailwind and BoardBooster. There are a ton of helpful programs and sites that VA’s use to make their work more efficient. Hopefully I can get some help in this department and make some moves to expand my own knowledge for my portfolio. In addition to doing it for the work side of it- I also just haven’t learned much in a long time since leaving school. Pushing myself to know more and learn to broaden my horizons is a good idea in any respect.

Passion

There’s nothing better than waking up everyday to do something that you love and enjoy. I find myself in this blessed place that I have a unique situation that lends to some job flexibility. I should work and honestly, I want to do something to earn money. But I also know I could not stand and flip burgers all day and be stuck in anything that doesn’t bring me the slightest bit of joy. I know most people on this earth are not that lucky and usually have to slump through the work weeks just to earn a living to do what we all have to in the first place. But since, I am outside that scope- I want to always know I’m doing things that make me thrive and bring me peace at the end of the day. Being passionate is something I will never give up.

Helping Others

I have seen so many people swallowed up by having too many side hustles or ladies who can never focus on one thing because so many ideas consume them (good and unique ideas-of course)! So I’d love to be the one who steps in and helps them slay the digital world while they have to work that 9-5 or tend to that growing, loving family or write a book or podcast. Mainly my objective is to free up as much time for them as I possibly can while still giving them the progress they desire. I’m a writer and social media addict by heart so doing those things in addition to doing my own is something I became very interested in the more I heard about it. Since then I’ve watched, gathered materials and joined groups all about Virtual Assisting and asked quite a few questions of a few that I know are successful in it.

Earn Money

I, like many others would like to be paid for my hard work and I feel I deserve what is fitting based on knowledge and quality of work done. Basically anyone doing any kind of hard work whether it be hard labor or digital tech stuff- you want to have compensation for it. In my special circumstance I’m using my earnings for more programs, upgrades for my blog website and any kind of materials I may need for my Virtual Assisting site. I offer fair prices and don’t intent to rip off anyone in any way. I’ve eased into a few easy beginner jobs slowly as I learn. So I want to get the hang of a few things will potential clients before I dive off any deep ends.

Love Being Online

I started an online social media life in late 2005 with MySpace when I moved out right before I graduated. It was my first experience really being on my own (at a friends place- I felt watched over but not over-protected). I felt like I had a chance to meet other new people and be my best adult self. I was always checking in and tweaking my profile, updating the factoids and taking selfies. I opened a Facebook a few years later to befriend old classmates who I had moved away from and lost track of in my life. I followed along the years as Tumblr and Instagram came out as well as Pinterest and Twitter (in whatever actual order). Being online is fun to me, seeing inside someone’s world and connecting to others in a new way.

Networking With Others

Working with others as my friends and coworkers in the blogosphere is one of my favorite things. I love hearing other peoples’ ideas and goals, their vibes and what they want to accomplish. I love to hand out my help or some advice wherever I possibly can. I know that working online is somewhat of a joint effort in that when I don’t know how to do something I can find someone to teach me or to pass it on to another person better suited. Building clientele is also usually done by word of mouth and passed on from networking with others. Plus, it’s a great skill to have in any case, from blogging to VA services- you can learn a lot and bounce ideas off each other.

If you’d like to contact me for any VA services or collabs please email me at vanoraspualding@gmail.com

I have a newsletter going out today so if you aren’t already subscribed then do so down below or on my Sign Up page up top. Thank you! You’ll receive a freebie right after you sign up!


6 ways to make and keep online friends

So today I’m going to talk about friendship and if you don’t have a lot of close people in your life, the ways you can connect with new friends and people you have commonalities with online. There’s no rule about only knowing people in real life (or “IRL”) because the way I see it, it’s all real life. No matter where you are the internet connects us, we are all intertwined. We all do this life together one way or another- so be someone’s best friend. 
  • be that friend that you’d like to have
Lead by example. Trust is so big in a friendship and so is honesty- if you want to keep friends in any sense these are two qualities and skills you must possess and practice often. Be someone that they can depend on and be that in return as well. No flaking out, don’t be lazy, don’t mooch or be too selfish. No one wants to be around that sort of person. Always be nice and genuine and express gratitude when appropriate. Say Please and thank you! Those still go a long way.
  • stay in touch often
I’m not talking once a month or when so and so comes into town. I was once lazy about precious friendships and surely I lost those people in my life. We no longer speak. Too much time passed and too many things were left unsaid- our bonds disappeared and we crumbled. It doesn’t work if you aren’t committed to each other. Daily, weekly for sure and as much and as often as you can the better. The perfect advice I have is if you’re thinking about them, they are probably thinking about you. So take a moment to reach out and say Hi!
  • be there through thick and thin
Who do you want by your side  when things get hard or even when things are going good? Those who support you and cradle you are the true ones. When someone is down or having a hard time what do you do for others? You listen without talking,  relate some maybe and overall have a gentle demeanor. So when you need someone you want the type of person who will do the same. When things are good you celebrate and cheer each other on, so do plenty of that too!
  • share interests and common goals
Whether it’s writing, blogging, playing games, motherhood, crafting or DIY’ing- whatever it is you love to do, your passion is your tribe. You find your tribe by loving your passion. Take time to brainstorm and talk about your dreams, goals and desires- it grows a friendship by collaborating on a project or being a sounding board for someone. If someone needs your help or advice on a project be there and support them as best you can. It’s fun to find things in common when you are not able to be close- I often send pins to my mommyhood friends and wedding decor to those who are getting married and might appreciate my aesthetic. Or I make a fun playlist and give it to someone I know would enjoy a workout playlist or a work mode jam session. It’s really nice to think of others and will only strengthen that bond.  
“Do small things with  great love.” (Mother Teresa)
  • share about yourself and don’t be afraid to connect
To be a true friend you have to put yourself out there. It’s much like being in a relationship- you need to be vulnerable and trust that the other person will trust and respect you and you do the same in return. It’s a give and take that can either come naturally or be very difficult. All those yucky things in the corner of your mind, slowly open up all those feelings that helps dust off the cobwebs of your life- plus I promise, it feels way good to share the good stuff and the tough stuff too!
  • try these ways to communicate when you’re far apart
  1. Instant Messaging
  2. Twitter (and other social media accounts-Instagram, Pinterest etc)
  3. Facebook Chats
  4. Snapchat
  5. Emails
  6. Letters/pen pals
  7. FaceTime (if you’re both Apple users)
  8. Slack
  9. blog comments
  10. talk to text/voice messaging or apps like Voxer
  11. and make plans to visit if at all possible.
I’m hoping that these points help you make and keep some great new friends online that can become your IRL tribe- because my girls have become mine! 🙂 Thank you to Pam, Rae, Taush and Krysten- I know there’s many more but I’d ride or die for these four, love ya all so much!

Ten Valentine’s Day Gifts Under 30$

I thought with Valentine’s Day coming up soon it’s the usual thing to share some gift ideas and follow the holidays. Maybe you’ll find these ideas helpful and all under $30 because we may not all have a good Valentines Day budget to work with. Plus small gifts are just as special and can sometimes mean even more to me. I hope some of you like these nice Etsy things I picked out and remember it’s nice to shop small and support local businesses and homemade items when you can!

large initial necklace-$29.00 same day shipping!

‘i love you’ hidden message mug-$19.29

Floral phone case in iphone & andriod-$25+

Map Heart print (husband, wife, girlfriend/boyfriend, fiance etc)– $5.00

Personalized Cutting Board-$25.00+

Spoon set “i belong with you/you belong with me”-$29.99

Handmade Bath Bomb set of 12-$20

Wristlet Wallet-$25

Ceramic Jewelry/Ring Dish– $26

Wine Socks-$14

5 ways to take care of yourself during your period

Take Baths

I love taking hot baths when I feel completely bloated and have bad cramps. It immediately relaxes all my sore, achy muscles and loosens my back. Plus if you add some Epsom salts it makes the bath even more enjoyable for the same reasons. And it smells good too. Put on some music in the background or read a bit and just chill out. 
Avoid soda, drink water or tea instead
Okay this is a hard one for me but I try really hard to cut back when I know i’m hurting. For one the sugar just sits in your gut and makes you feel more yucky and can create more bloating and make you gassy. I really like trying new teas or making new combinations with chilled water, fruit and herbs. Even just using new flavors of water enhancers-if I have them on hand. Also just by changing my hot tea to ice tea can be enough to switch things up. I’m normally a bad water drinker. And for two, soda can make your cramps WORSE. I’m not sure entirely how but gas again could be the culprit of this one, I know I read it somewhere! 
HEAT HEAT HEAT 
I cannot usually relax unless I have my heat pack on my lower abdominal area or to the side where I have the most pain. My number thing that ruins my day is CRAMPS. So I have to find ways to calm my body or avoid them altogether. And heat is my magic little lesson. I can still be pretty productive or so this point wouldn’t be made. (Currently in this exact situation) I’m happy when I can just watch a show, sit on my phone, cuddle my dogs and lay with the heat for awhile. Usually that makes it easier to move around and get on with my tasks. Sometimes if I feel up to it I do the house chores with a heating pack around my waist and music on. That way I knock out all three: less stress/entertainment, exercise and heat. A perfect storm! 
E X E R C I S E
I’ve learned that it’s probably best to move especially when you don’t want to. Getting to the gym for a walk or jog, doing some at home yoga or Pilates just might be the icing on your cake and alleviate most of that pain and pressure you feel from Mrs. Time of the Month. I haven’t taken my own advice much but sometimes walking through the store is enough to make mine fade away and take my mind off the tenderness and aches that are my body in the moment. 
Pain Relievers: Advil or Aleve 
I take mine just as soon as I feel pain. Usually you can expect your worst days if you know your cycle. Or if you can track it. I however am currently on Mirena birth control and like many others I don’t actually have a period. However the cramps and bloating wanted to stick around regardless. Thanks. So that’s why the heat to me is so important. I can take an Aleve or two and a heat pack, watch a 30 minute show and then feel all better. I prefer Aleve- I can take it on an empty stomach and not feel sick. However still drink lots of water with it! And I think personally it works really fast. 
I hope these tips helped you somehow. If not right now then sometime in the near future maybe. It’s pretty obvious to some but maybe you are just a helpless type when Mother Nature rears her ugly head. And for that I don’t blame you, I get cranky too. This way you can at least stay on top of your life and get through it in one piece.

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