How to Style and Organize a Bookcase

Sure, bookcases are meant to hold your book collection, but that doesn’t mean that yours should look like a jumbled mess. Turn your overstuffed bookcase into a focal point in your home with these simple, designer-worthy decorating tips.

  1. Organize all of your books in an attractive way. Whether you organize them by color to create a rainbow effect or by height for a unique pattern, you should consider book placement before anything else—it is a bookshelf, after all!
  2. Add knickknacks. While knickknacks may make you think of a cluttered grandmother’s house, modern versions will add an artistic flair to your shelves. Hunt for vintage brass or ceramic objects at local thrift stores, pick up small sculptures on your travels, or simply place green plants throughout.
  3. Fill it with frames. For a personal touch, frame photos of your friends or family and place them upright on the shelves. Or, if you want to create a more unique effect, attach the frame with a small nail to the front of the bookshelf where a corner meets.
  4. Step back and admire your work. To ensure that your bookshelf looks as good from afar as it does up close, frequently back up and reconsider the placement of each item.

How to Decorate a Bookshelf [Decoist]
How-to Beautify Your Bookcase [Coastal Living]
22 Ways to Arrange Your Shelves [Real Simple]
Flip for Decorating: The Bookcase [House Beautiful]

How to Get Your Home at The Monterey by Windsor Ready for Houseguests

The next time you host guests in your home, prepare in advance by setting a game plan well ahead of time. These smart and stress-free tips will show you exactly how to get your home ready for houseguests, even if you don’t exactly have a separate guest wing to work with.

  1. Create a designated space. Everyone likes to have a feeling of privacy and a place to decompress, which you can easily create for your guests even if you don’t have a closed-off guestroom. Simply give them free run of a living room or den, or create your own guest quarters by investing in a room divider.
  2. Test out the bed. Since you don’t normally sleep in the guest bed (or air mattress, or sofa…), it’s always smart to test it out first to ensure its comfort. If it’s not up to snuff, add a foam mattress topper, more blankets, or other affordable improvements.
  3. Create an overnight kit. Stock a small caddy with shower supplies, water bottles, pain relievers, and snack bars, as well as anything else that your guests might ask for.
  4. Change the linens. Be sure to put clean, fresh-smelling sheets on the bed and provide enough clean towels for all of your guests.
  5. Feel out their schedules. Once they arrive, work around their schedules to prevent stepping on any toes.

Make Your Overnight Guests Feel at Home [Southern Living]
Hosting Overnight Guests [Life Your Way]
Real Life Advice: Hosting Guests Without a Guestroom [Apartment Therapy]
Getting Ready for Overnight Guests [Real Simple]

5 Interesting Facts About Artist Edgar Degas

The stunning paintings of young dancers and women by Edgar Degas are well loved by many arts patrons. Degas used his classical techniques and merged it with his avant-garde, impressionistic tendencies to create singular portraits of modern life in Paris during the late 1800s. There are a few things you might not know about this important artist, like these five facts:

Degas initially studied law.
At the request of his father, Degas enrolled into the Faculty of Law of the University of Paris. It didn’t suit him well, and Degas left the school two years later to study his true passion—art—at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.

Degas never married.
For all of the time he spent with women, drawing, painting, and obsessing over them, Degas never took a wife. He had intimate relationships throughout his life, occasionally with famous artistic women like Mary Cassatt, but the painter remained a bachelor until his death.

New Orleans was his second home.
Degas was born in Paris to a French father and American mother, who was from New Orleans, Louisiana. As an adult, Degas spent much of his time between the two cities, often staying for long periods in New Orleans during the French-Prussia War. His painting "The Cotton Exchange at New Orleans" was inspired by the city and was the only work purchased by a museum during his lifetime.

He collected art.
Degas was a rare type of artist who enjoyed financial success, unlike many of his contemporaries. This allowed him the ability to purchase artwork to create a collection that included work from Cézanne, Gauguin, and Van Gogh.

He stopped painting.
Toward the end of his life, Degas suffered from terrible sight problems. Embittered by this problem, Degas stopped painting altogether. He focused on sculpture, experimented with photography, and promoted his own work. By the time he died in 1917, he had stopped his artistic endeavors altogether.

Edgar Degas [Biography]
Edgar Degas Biography [Edgar Degas]
Edgar Degas Biography [Modern Art Muse]

Sate Your Craving for Chocolate With These Molten Lava Cake Recipes

Molten lava cakes are the ideal dessert for a dinner party or other social gathering because their individual sizes give each person a little cake of their own to enjoy. When you cut into these warm, moist desserts an explosion of hot chocolate sauce spills out, which gives the cakes their fun name. If your mouth is already watering, try one of these molten lava cake recipes for dinner tonight.

Molten Chocolate Cakes [Food and Wine]
Food and Wine’s gourmet spin on the dessert classic brings an air of sophistication to the usual molten lava cake. Bittersweet chocolate and unsalted butter provide a rich, complex taste, and the thick chocolate inside is just the icing – or, rather, the lava – on the cake.

Molten Chocolate Cake [Pioneer Woman]
This recipe from the Pioneer Woman is just as indulgent as her other recipes, and the addition of an extra egg yolk ensures that the inside is even more runny than most lava cakes. Serve them with homemade whipped cream for an extra special treat.

Red Velvet Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes [Half Baked Harvest]
This recipe not only uses a red velvet cake exterior, but a chocolate ganache center as well. If that doesn’t already sound decadent enough, a coconut whipped cream topping should do the trick.

NCAA Tournament Challenge Winners

Congratulations to the following winners of the Dallas Windsor Warriors NCAA Tournament Challenge! Please contact your leasing office to claim your prize.

1st Place – VoltageGSR

2nd Place – Colt073

3rd Place – Camster83 and Ebright85

Congratulations to all of our winners! See you next year!

These Online Retailers Sell Hip Kids’ Furniture That’s More Stylish Than Most

If the idea of a kids’ bedroom that’s cluttered with toys isn’t exactly what you have in mind, you may be wishing for kid-friendly furniture that’s a bit more functional. These stylish online stores specialize in children’s furniture and decor that’s more minimal than most, but it’s still cute enough to appeal to your favorite little ones.

The Land of Nod
With mid-century modern designs and soft, neutral colors, all of the furniture at The Land of Nod is just as appealing to caregivers as it is to the kids. Here you’ll find well-made wooden cribs and bedframes, bedding in whimsical patterns, and smart storage solutions with an eclectic edge.

Everyone’s favorite Swedish home goods store is an equally great resource for fun, quirky children’s furniture. If you’re looking to furnish your little ones’ rooms on a budget, this is the place to go for complete furniture sets and even colorful rugs that double as board games.

Hip Kids
With a name like Hip Kids, it’s apparent that this online retailer sells children’s furnishings that are truly stylish. Shop wooden play kitchens, kid-sized teepees, and smart storage solutions that they’ll actually want to put their toys inside.

Calling All Teachers: These Pinterest Boards Are Head of the Class!

Being teacher is an incredibly fulfilling job, and Pinterest is one of the most beneficial tools on the Internet to help make the most out of your classroom. From funny quotes to creative lesson ideas, the Pinterest teaching community offers something for all types of educators. Here are three of the best teaching boards on Pinterest.

Classroom Management
Teaching a class isn’t all fun and games, and this helpful board offers a number of tips and tricks for organizing your classroom and keeping everything running smoothly. Here, you’ll find creative ways to motivate your students, plus fun decorations that double as educational resources and printable worksheets to bolster your lesson plans.

Classroom Organization
Any teacher will tell you that staying organized is the key to a happy classroom, and this board is filled with ideas to help you do just that. Creative sign-out sheets will help you to keep track of all of your students, while bins and cubbies make great spaces for organizing all of your classroom supplies. There are even printable labels, worksheets, and calendars that all teachers will love.

Teacher Quotes
At the end of the day, teaching is all about maintaining a sense of humor. These inspiring and often hilarious quotes are filled with inside jokes that only fellow teachers will understand.

Damage-Free Ways to Display Wall Decor at The Monterey by Windsor

When you live in a rental, you want to leave behind as little damage as possible to keep the unit in top shape (and insure that ever-important security deposit). In many cases, that means finding new and creative ways to hang posters, paintings, and other wall decor without taking a hammer to the walls. Here are just a few ideas for creating damage-free wall displays.

  • Use Command strips. These handy tools from the trusted 3M brand are lifesavers for many renters. Simply stick the sturdy adhesive back to your frame, stick the other side to the wall and attach the two with the equally strong Velcro strips. When it comes time to move out, they simply peel off the wall without leaving any residue behind.
  • Try monkey hooks. Monkey hooks are complicated looking metal hooks that are actually quite simple. The slim, curved devices have long ends that push into the wall and create a hole not much larger than a pinpoint, and then they push back out of the wall to create a loop that can hold frames weighing up to 50 pounds.
  • Stick on poster putty. For lightweight wall hangings without frames, tried-and-true poster putty is always a safe bet. Simply tack on small dots of this unobtrusive putty to hang posters without nails or tacks showing through—or damaging your walls.

How to hang a picture without hammer and nails [SheKnows]
Hang Pictures on a Wall [Lowe’s]
How to Hang Pictures Without Destroying Your Walls [Lifehacker]
How To: Hang a Frame Without Leaving a Mark [Apartment Therapy]

Throwback Thursday

#TBT to February 2015! With the spring-like weather we've been enjoying recently, it's hard to believe that The Monterey was a winter wonderland at this time last year.

Valentine’s Day Themed Workouts

While we tend to think of flowers and chocolates on Valentine's Day, there's no reason to forget about fitness on February 14th.

Click here and give yourself the gift of love with these 8 Valentine's Day themed workouts from our friends at Babble.

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