Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Photo Credit Haleigh Steere

Staying focused with beautiful weather at arms reach can be tough. Bring some bright DIY decor into your workspace to help you stay on track and give you a creative boost. Here are 10 low cost options for freshening up your desk or office. 

1. Upcycled Ombre Glass Bottle by Apartment Therapy 

For only $7.00 you can create a custom ombre vase in just 10 minutes! Add fresh flowers for a spring inspired workspace.

2. Upcycle a Thrift Store Lamp by Apartment Therapy 

This is a cheap way to make a big statement. Look for lamps at your local thrift shop and upgrade the shade at any department store. Go for bright spring colors to bring some visual interest to your space.

3. DIY Desk Organizer by Apartment Therapy 

This desk organizer uses plastic clothes hangers and acrylic frames to make an inexpensive alternative for desk top organization. Add a punch of metallic spray paint for a unique addition to your workspace.

4. Spring Desktop Style from Breanna Rose

Freshen up your desktop with free wallpaper. Designer and blogger, Breanna Rose, creates free wallpapers for your desktop, tablet, and phone. This is a great (not to mention FREE) way to make the workday a little brighter.

5. DIY Leather Mail Organizer by Design Sponge

This is a chic alternative to leaving mail scattered around your apartment. This could also make a killer DIY Fathers Day gift!

6. Chic Cement Pots by Zana

If industrial chic is your kind of style, these cement pots are the way to go. You can mold them to any container shape and get a variety of sizes for your indoor greens.

7. DIY Abstract Art Using a Spin Toy by Apartment Therapy 

Sure, you could just splash some paint on a canvas but where's the fun in that? Spin art is a great way to get a modern abstract look on a budget. Frame the original or trace in in Illustrator and blow it up for a pricey looking work or art.

8. Leather Valet Tray by Apartment Therapy 

This simple and stylish valet tray could be done in leather or felt. It's a great way to store papers or trinkets.

9. DIY Typography Artwork  by You Are My Fave

For all you typography fans out there, this is a great way to recreate your favorite quote. All you need if wire and string, yarn, or jute.

10. Modern Pegboard Shelving by Apartment Therapy 

Last but not least, is this DIY pegboard shelving system. It's perfect for housing your office supplies and let's not kid ourselves....pegboard is just awesome.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Best Plants for Your Apartment

Peace Lily 

These are one of the few flowering plants that also purify air. It helps to wipe out toxins found in paint as well as furniture wax and polish. With a year round bloom, the Peace Lily is a great way to brighten up a space in winter. 


These flowering succulents are native to Central America. Echeveria needs lots of sunlight but doesn't need to be watered too often, you can let the soil completely dry between waterings. 

Spider Plants

This plant is a great option for beginners. Spider Plants reproduce quickly and grow long leaves that sprout plantlets. These plants work best in hanging baskets or window sills with plenty of sun light. 

Sweet Bay

Bay is a slow growing shrub whose leaves are often used in soups and stews. This plant will give off a savory herbal scent that will make your apartment feel like home. Sweet Bay plants need a bright spot without hot or cold drafts and evenly watered soil to thrive. 

Aloe Vera

Not only is this plant a magical sunburn cure, it's also incredibly easy to take care of. All it needs is bright light and watering once every two weeks. 


Basil is a hardy low-maintenance herb, simply water every other day. I personally LOVE the scent of Basil. It's a common ingredient and has a detoxifying effect of the liver. It's also an anti-inflammatory and helps clear blemishes. 


Cacti come in all shapes and sizes making them a fun addition to your apartment. I'm personally fond of Cacti because they seem to be indestructible. My Cactus is the only plant I haven't managed to kill, props to you little guy.

Snake Plant

These are durable plants that don't need much light to survive, making it ideal for low light apartments. Snake Plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen during the night, put one of these in your bedroom for an healthy boost.

Air Plants

These plants are pretty nifty, as their name suggests they don't need soil to thrive. Air Plants use their roots for attaching themselves to rocks, trees, or shrubs. These plants can thrive off neglect, simply mist daily in spring and summer. They also look fantastic in hangers, see this gold geometric hanger here. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Summer 2014: Iowa

Is this heaven? No... It's Iowa.  - Field of Dreams

What will you do this summer in Iowa? We'll give you some ideas.

Des Moines Art Center (DSM)
As a reviewer states, "beautiful and free!" What could be better?

The Salisbury House (DSM)
Guided tours on Tuesday - Saturday 11:00 am & 1:30 pm and Sunday at 1:30 pm. Learn more about the house here.

Blank Park Zoo (DSM)
We're going to the zoo!!! Spend a day hanging out with some animal friends.

Fenelon Place Elevator Company (DBQ)
Steep, beautiful, and a little quirky spot to hang out for a little. Check the link above for season rates and the history of this elevator.

Dubuque River Rides (DBQ)
For a special occasion or just for fun. Check the website above for more information and booking!

Brucemore (CR)
"An unparalleled blend of tradition and culture. At the heart of the historic 26-acre estate stands a 19th-century mansion, filled with the stories of three Cedar Rapids families." They usually hold events once a week.

Indian Creek Nature Center (CR)
Great for exploring trails or learning from exhibits. Free!!

Reiman Gardens (AMES)
Guided tours, special lunches, pretty flowers.

Auto Races with the Iowa State Fair
For the car junkies! May 23rd, starts 6:30 pm.

World Pork Expo
Everything pig! Visit June 4-6. Official website here.

Free Tours For Iowa Museum Week with Brucemore (CR)
Brucemore website is here, more details on this week are in the link above. June 10-15.

Dressed to Kill tour - Cher (DSM)
The ever-wonderful Cher is coming to Iowa! June 9th.

JULY:Cedar Valley Jaycees Annual Fireworks (WLOO)
July 5th at the National Cattle Congress Grounds. (Free)

Iowa Barnstormers VS San Jose Sabercats (DSM)
Saturday, July 26th.

July 20-26th. Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa! Try it for a day or two days or maybe even the whole week.

Iowa State Fair
From August 7-17th, you can take delight in visiting the Iowa State Fair. As their motto states, "Nothing Compares," nothing really does compare to the huge draw that this fair holds. Concerts, car races, animal exhibits, camping, art, and THE BUTTER COW are all included in this experience, plus so much more. Buy tickets online from their website above.

Hy-Vee Triathlon
August 29-30. Start training now!!

Let us know if you have anything you're dying to do this summer at Let's make it a good one!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

10 Ways to Stay Cool in Summer Heat

If you can't stand the heat, don't go to Cancun in the summer. -Ben Stein

This summer's gonna be a hot one, especially compared to our brutal winter! Here are some ideas on how to stay cool when it's sweltering.

1. Take your curtains down and put up wet sheets instead. When the wind blows through the window, the sheets will help cool the air down!
2. Head to the library, movie theater, or mall. If you can't beat the head, hide from it.
3. Place a sock full of rice in the freezer and take out after 45 minutes.
4. Don't eat a lot, it'll make your body work harder and you'll feel sick AND hot!
5. Put your bedsheets in a bag and place them in the freezer a few hours before bedtime. Fresh chilly sheets for dripping hot weather, voila.
6. Cool your head and neck down first when applying ice packs to the body - the body will cool down quicker if the head is cooler.
7. Eat spicy food. It will make you sweat more and therefore cool down faster.
8. Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink. Your thirst level is not reliable in high heat.
9. If you work out outdoors, don't do it in the middle of the day, and make sure you bring a buddy.
10. Use a hammock instead of a bed. Increased airflow all around is better!

Let us know at if you have any other ideas on how to stay cool in the hot hot heat!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Dollars for Scholars Scholarship

Their Mission: Ballard Community Dollars for Scholars advocates post-secondary education for every Ballard student by recognizing academic achievement and awarding scholarships.

Founded in 1995, Ballard Community Dollars for Scholars  has awarded more than $521,075 in scholarships to over 1546 students. In addition to the scholarship program, 15 worthy Ballard juniors and seniors and 15 Ballard community namesakes, are honored at the Academic Achievement Awards Night each fall. The Ballard faculty selects the student honorees for the night and "Ballard Community Dollars for Scholars throws the party."

Each graduating senior from Ballard High School, Huxley, Iowa, who completes an application by the deadline for one of the many Ballard Community Dollars for Scholars scholarships, and who attends the Scholarship Awards Night in early May, will receive a minimum of $350 for their post-secondary education, technical school, credentialing classes or training.  Many scholarship awardees will receive double that amount because they attend an institution which matches the local scholarship.

Haverkamp Properties is proud to be able to help present two scholarships to Ballard High School to Brady Harmon and Jacey Edwards. Congratulations!!

To read more about Ballard Community Dollars for Scholars, find their website here.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Ankeny Teens Combat Human Trafficking

Most Iowans don't think human trafficking is an issue that affects them. Little do they know it happens here, every day, in their own backyards.  You may be wondering what the term "human trafficking" means, put simply it's the exploitation of human beings. More specifically human trafficking is coercing a person to preform labor, services, or sex acts. It's an issue that a group of high school students in Ankeny have decided to shine a light on.  Teens Against Human Trafficking (TAHT) is a student lead non-profit organization combating human trafficking and raising public awareness of the issue. Lexi O'Connor, Founder of TAHT, is a 17 year old student who first heard about human trafficking two years ago, and decided it was an issue she had to address. TAHT has held several successful fundraisers and sold TAHT apparel to help kick start their cause. The benefits helped fund a community forum called "A Generation Rising" on April 30th at Ankeny High School.

What you need to know about human trafficking

  • The average age of entering forced prostitution is 13 years old. 
  • There are an estimated 27 million victims world wide. 
  • Human trafficking is the second largest crime, after drug trafficking. 
  • Human trafficking is an Iowa issue. 

Lexi opened the forum on April 30th, with the numbing story that first turned her onto the issue.

"What really affected me was when a woman from the audience stood up and shared a story. 12 little girls were discovered in the back of a van because a police officer had noticed leaking fluid coming from the van." O'Connor says. "He sent up to the driver to offer him assistance, but the driver said no and tried to leave. The police officer asked to look in the back of the van, and discovered 12 little girls in there, all victims of sex trafficking. The fluid that was leaking out of the van was their urine. The gas station was a Casey's in Ames, Iowa. I was appalled to know it was happening in my state, and I knew I had to do something."

Men usually approach vulnerable looking girls and offer them a modeling job. Typically they even have a business card and website, this is more than enough to fool most 13 year old girls.  Once she arrives at her first "shoot" she isn't allowed to leave.  Often within hours she's taken across the county and sold into forced prostitution. Tina Frundy, a survivor of child sex trafficking and Founder of Courtney's House, explains how girls are kept in "the life." Through physical and psychological control girls are forced to stay or too afraid to leave. The last speaker was a 22 year old girl named Brittany.  An Iowa victim who was taken from a Cedar Rapids grocery store and trafficked to Chicago within 18 hours of her abduction. Brittany bravely told the story of her abduction and months of forced prostitution, at only 14 years old.  She was rescued from her trafficker through a sting operation and now educates the public about trafficking in Iowa. Read her story here.   

Iowa is taking a whole new stance on human trafficking. Mike Feriack, Senior Criminal Investigator with the Iowa Department of Justice is the Director of the newly founded Human Trafficking Enforcement and Prosecution Initiative. Mike explains that law enforcement is putting pressure on traffickers like never before.  "We want to make Iowa such a hostile place, that traffickers would rather go around than drive through." Feriack says at the public forum. 

Help spread the word about modern day slavery!

Teens Against Human Trafficking is fighting to make change happen. For more information visit or email them at

To report suspected human trafficking, call the Polaris Project Hotline: 1-888-373-7888

Like Teens Against Human Trafficking on Facebook for updates.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Celiac Disease: How to be Gluten Free

Celiac disease: it hates my guts. - Anonymous


Celiac disease affects about 1 in every 133 people in the US, or more than 2 million people(credit). It's a condition in which the body has an inability to process gluten. Gluten is a substance that is present in grains, especially wheat, that is responsible for the elastic texture of dough (credit). The small intestine lining becomes damaged, which means the body can't absorb the nutrients. This causes fatigue, malaise, bloating, and diarrhea.

To begin learning about Celiac disease and how to master it, I would recommend Celiac Disease for Dummies. You can find it here on Amazon for about $12 on a kindle or about $17 for paperback. You can also look for the lowest prices on Amazon for Celiac Disease for Dummies through this link. The lowest price that I can see is $8 with $4 shipping and handling. There's also a Dummies guide called Living Gluten-Free that is $1.99. I'm not sure how much of that information would overlap the Celiac Disease guide, but for $2, why not? You can find that here.

Freebies that I've found just from researching that you can read from the Dummies website:
Celiac for Dummies Cheat Sheet
First chapter of Celiac Disease for Dummies in PDF version

Worried about traveling and finding gluten-free friendly places? Check out these sites.

Gluten Free Travel Site - at a quick glance, this website gives lots of names for restaurants but almost all the ratings are 5/5, which I don't really trust. If nothing else, this website gives lots of different options.

Find Me Gluten Free - This website is what I would use. You can search any state and it brings up all the towns, then lists tons of restaurants and choices with reviews. A great resource!

Jay writes about etymology (and sometimes other things) - A clever blog post explaining a little more about gluten its etymology.

Gluten-Free Celebrities - Interesting!

8 Things No Gluten-Free Person Ever Wants to Hear - This made me laugh out loud!!

If you have any info you think would be helpful or gluten free tips that you'd like to share, we'd love to hear! Shoot us an email at

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Gift Guide: Teachers

A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning. -Brad Henry

At the end of the year, who is to thank for your scholarly growth? That's right, your teachers. We have some ideas for gifts that you could give, ranging from cheesy to sentimental.

From Everything Etsy
From CarolinaCottage on Etsy

From Andrea Freibus

From FindingPinsNeedles on Etsy.

From Sweet Metel Moments (free printable!)

Don't forget the significance of a short handwritten note! Do you have any suggestions for teacher gifts? Let us know at

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Moving Out & Subleasing

Subleasing and moving out can be stressful, so planning ahead is key to moving easily and efficiently.

Come into your local office to pick up a checkout packet and get a list of things that you must do before moving out! It offers a great, simple checklist that you can go through quickly and easily.

Key points:

Make sure you leave utilities in your name.
Have all keys ready to turn in at your checkout appointment. (door, mail, pool, & garage)
Follow our guidelines for cleaning to receive maximum deposit refund.
Check your forwarding address at

A few tips:
Use a car, friend's place, or storage unit to store your things while you clean your home.
Check batteries in smoke detectors.
Dirty apartments are much more expensive to you than clean apartments!

Remember, come to the office and pick up a checkout packet to make sure that you aren't missing anything. Call your local office if you have any questions, we'd love to answer them for you!