Thursday, December 31, 2015


It's almost time -- for the new year to grace us. It's a time for fresh starts and new goals. Remember 2015, with it's "Hotline Bling", "The Dress" and "Pizza Rat"? We do. Remember Adele's comeback? We do. Remember Shia LeBeouf screaming  "Just do it!!!!!!"? We sure do. Well, maybe there's some truth to LeBeouf's seemingly insane green screen rant. Don't let your dreams be dreams people -- 2016 is your year. Make it a good one! :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Traditions


Christmas traditions. We all have them, whether it's decorating the tree the day after Thanksgiving, or opening just one present on Christmas eve night. Some people like to start their holiday early; busting out the X-Mas decorations when it hasn't even been Thanksgiving yet. Of course, that's when department stores start pushing the holiday. And then of course you have Black Friday. If you want to risk life and limb to get a good deal on a huge Samsung LCD super-extreme-HD 9,000,000 pixel TV then hey, go for it! Granted, there are have been some deals worth going for. Then ya gotta keep your eye out for those Cyber Monday deals on Amazon and the like. Even now, various websites still have exclusive savings and discounts to watch for.

But back to traditions.

For most, there will be plenty of time spent with family. And then opening presents, and having a nice meal. In my family, we celebrate Christmas Eve night with one side of the family. It's a large family, so we stick to a gift exchange, and have some home cooked food in potluck format. This is followed by Christmas morning with immediate family, which includes opening presents, and then going to my grandparents' after to celebrate, exchange more gifts, and enjoy Grandma's awesome cooking.

Of course, there are many items that represent Christmas in a traditional way. You have stockings which are hung (classically on a mantle above a fire place) and stuffed with small gifts like candy and other trinkets to be dug through on Christmas Day.


The Christmas tree, which can be real or fake depending on what your family prefers. The tree is usually strung with lights, tinsel or garland, and ornaments. The ornaments can range from little santa figurines to colored/sparkly bulbs, even to candy canes. The tree is also generally topped with a star, an angel, or Santa Claus!


When we were kids, many of us also remember leaving out some milk and cookies for Santa, which has been a long enjoyed practice over the years. Even leaving some food for his reindeer can be fun too! I legitimately was convinced Santa had come the night before because when I woke up Christmas morning, what would be left but some crumbs on the plate, the glass of milk gone, and possibly a hand written note saying "Thank you!". That St. Nick, what a nice guy.


Many of us have our beloved Christmas traditions. Many of those traditions started when we were young and are still carried on. As we get older, though, we realize these traditions aren't so much about getting presents and chowing down on some delicious food. They're more of a representation of the joy felt around the holidays; seeing the smile on a loved ones face as they open your thoughtful, personal gift to them; or staying up late watching a Christmas movie with someone close. No matter your traditions, we hope your Christmas is filled with happiness, warmth, and love.

Holiday Recipe: Cinnamon Rolls


I don't think I've met a single person that doesn't like cinnamon rolls. For many, it's an essential Christmas Morning treat! We found a very simple recipe from minamalistbaker so you can make some of these bad boys on your own! They're even vegan if that's how you roll!

1 packet instant yeast
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup Earth balance (vegan butter), divided
1/4 tsp salt
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp sugar, divided

Dairy Free Cream Cheese Frosting:
4 Tbsp non-dairy butter (such as Earth Balance), softened
2- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar (1/2 lb.)
4 ounces softened "Tofutti" dairy-free cream cheese, softened
1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract

from You need to get going on these, they look too good to pass up!


1. In large saucepan, heat the almond milk and 3 Tbsp Earth Balance until warm and melted.
2. Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl and sprinkle on yeast. Let activate for 10 minutes, then add 1 Tbsp sugar, then salt and stir.
3. Add in flour 1/2 cup at a time, stirring as you go. The dough will be sticky. When it is too thick to stir, transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for about one minute until it forms a loose ball. Rinse your mixing bowl out, coat it with canola or grapeseed oil, and add your dough ball back in. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a thin rectangle. Brush with 3 Tbsp melted Earth Balance and top with 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 - 1Tbsp cinnamon.
5. Starting at one end, tightly roll up the dough and situate seam side down. Then with a serrated knife or a string of floss, cut the dough into 1.5 - 2 inch sections and position in a well-buttered 8x8 square or comparable sized round pan (should have about 10 rolls). Brush with remaining 2 Tbsp Earth Balance (melted) and cover with plastic wrap. Set to let rise again while preheating oven to 350 degrees F.
6. Bake rolls for 25-30 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes and then serve immediately.


These instructions can also be found at, which is a great blog for "delicious recipes that require 10 ingredients or less, one bowl, or 30 minutes or less to prepare"!

You can also find the cream cheese frosting instructions here. Thank you to Dana for a wonderful recipe!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Movie Roundup

There are tons of Christmas movies out there. From the old classics to the new comedies. One of my friends has a family tradition of watching A Christmas Story for 24 hours straight, at least until they fall asleep. And I mean, think about all those Lifetime movies... The made for TV ones that really tug at the ol' heartstrings. Some are good, and others are debatable. We've compiled a top 10 list of what we think are some of the must-see movies this holiday season to help you out! We'll save a long explanation for each because most are familiar with them :)

1. Miracle on 34th Street


2. A Christmas Story


3. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer


4. Elf


5. A Christmas Carol


6. Home Alone II: Lost in New York


7. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Animated Version)

8. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation


9. Home Alone


10. It's a Wonderful Life


Hopefully you'll be able to catch a couple of these movies this holiday! Honorable mentions: Scrooged (because Bill Murray [A Very Murray Christmas on Netflix - not recommended]), The Nightmare Before Christmas (It's actually meant to be a Halloween movie), A Charlie Brown Christmas, Frosty the Snowman, Jack Frost, Christmas with the Kranks, The Santa Claus, and White Christmas.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Decorating your Apartment on a Budget

Maybe you’re fresh out of school and settling into your first apartment, or perhaps you’re sick of staring at the same picture hanging above your bed and need to switch things up. It’s easy to blow the bank on designer furniture and apartment decor, but fortunately there several ways to create your own cool space without spending too much.

Our first tip: thrift stores, resale or consignment shops are your friend. You don’t have to use hand-me-downs from your parents or friends, but you can search used goods stores for whatever you’re looking for. On top of saving money from buying designer name brands, you’re likely to find some really unique stuff that you won’t get at big box or chain stores. This is the best (and cheapest) way to add a personal touch to your living space.

Take advantage of online sales; they’re a good way to get that pricey item you’ve had your eye on without totally emptying your pocket. Keep checking prices and look for deals regularly from online retailers. This might cost you more, but it’s a good way to get a particular piece that you want. Lots of online stores run pretty cheap too, depending on your style or needs.

Browse online apartment websites for inspiration. Many times, all you need is some creativity from online sites for you to use what you already have in a more effective way, or get ideas that you wouldn’t normally think of. is a great resource that tours real people’s home spaces as well as offering decorating and lifestyle tips for any type of homeowner, renter, budget or living space.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Surviving Finals Week: A Guide for College Students

Finals week is nearly upon us, and with it all of the stress-induced anxiety associated with end of the semester exams and projects. It’s easy to let these worries distract you from studying or preparing properly, but luckily we’re here with some A+ tips for college students to survive finals week. Grab some coffee (we know you have some nearby) and get ready!

Avoid cramming
While this might be easier said than done, cramming is not really an effective way to prepare for a test. In fact, it makes it harder to retain the information you’re taking in. Make sure to study in intervals, taking short breaks every hour or so to maximize your time. This is also a good way to develop time management skills; don’t leave everything for the night before.

Say no to all-nighters
A sentence that any college student loves to hear but, alas, is rarely able to listen to. Everyone pulls all-nighters, but they are simply more harmful than beneficial. You need sleep in order to function at your best, and if you don’t get any it makes studying and test taking harder, which is just counter-productive. Study hard, but take the time to rest well to ensure a sharp mind for test day.

Organize yourself
Being prepared is half the battle. Always have a game plan before you start studying, or it’s easy to get off track or distracted. Keep a planner, organize your notes, and make sure you know what you need to complete or study going into your work session. These steps make it infinitely easier to stay on track and make the most of your time.

Relax post finals
So you’ve done it. You’ve taken all of your final exams and turned in every last project (hopefully with confidence). Be sure to take the time to unwind when you’re all finished; blowing off steam after a stressful week is just as important as being prepared for it. Besides- you’ve earned it!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Fun Winter Ideas

So now that we've been getting some snow for a good old Iowa winter, what is there to do? Sure, you played in the snow when you were little, but the fact is, it can still be a good time! Try out some of these fun winter ideas if you get sick of being cooped up inside.


Monday, November 30, 2015

The Best Selling Albums of 2015

Some of you might’ve heard of a little song called ‘Hello’ by Adele that was released at the end of October. This single was the first off of her newly released album called 25, her third album and now the #1 best selling record of the year. 25 sold 3.38 million copies the first week, making it the largest single sales week for an album since Nielsen Music began tracking album sales in 1991. Adele has beat out NSYNC as the previous single sales week record back in 2000, and we can expect 25 to sit at the top of Billboard’s Top 100 for a while, just as her last album 21 did. And let’s not forget that her latest album isn’t yet available to stream for free online like so many others are today, which makes these accomplishments that much more impressive. So who else did Adele beat out for the title of best-selling record of 2015? Let’s take a look.

The previous 2015 album with the biggest sales was Justin Bieber’s Purpose, which sold 522,000 copies its first week after being released on November 13th. Purpose was the largest music debut since Taylor Swift’s blockbuster album 1989, which reached 3.5 million units in 2014 and has racked up nearly 2 million this year.

Before Purpose, rapper Drake had the year’s best selling album with If You’re Reading This You’re Too Late, which sold roughly 495,000 copies since its release in February, and even more since then thanks to a frenzied, viral social media reaction to his Hotline Bling music video that came out this fall.

Other artists enjoying great success this year include The Weeknd, One Direction, and Chris Stapleton.

It’s been a wild year for music, but it looks like Adele will end 2015 as the grand champion. Below you can find a link to a constantly updated Spotify playlist with all of the most recent top hits of of the year, so you’ll be well prepared for whatever comes in 2016!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

In Theaters for Thanksgiving

Every year during this time, Hollywood releases some of its biggest and best films to delight audiences during the holiday season, and 2015 is no exception. This year’s Thanksgiving weekend offerings appeal to a whole range of ages and interests- something that everyone in the family can appreciate. So take some time after the Thanksgiving festivities have settled to check out a new movie together!

Two of the year’s biggest films are follow-ups in a series, namely The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 and Spectre, the 25th entry in the James Bond franchise. These movies will appeal to an audience seeking action and adventure, although catered to different ages.

Mockingjay is the epic and dark finale of the Hunger Games series, and fans will finally get to see Katniss go head to head with the Capitol. Spectre will appeal to a slightly older audience, another chapter in the 007 series filled with everything you’ve come to expect from the franchise: guns, car chases and Bond girls.

If you’re in the mood for a Christmas comedy, check out The Night Before, starring Seth Rogen. This one’s for the adults as it tells the story of three friends who reunite for one last Christmas Eve of debauchery before taking on major responsibilities and becoming ‘real adults.’ In case you need a dose of holiday cheer to tide you over until Christmas, this comedy will do the trick. If you’re looking for a more serious title, The 33 might be what you’re looking for. This drama chronicles the events of the 2010 Chilean mine disaster and the following days leading up to their rescue.

Last but not least, a beloved cartoon gets a big-screen debut in 3D animation: The Peanuts Movie. Show your kids the classic holiday television episodes (especially the Thanksgiving and Christmas specials) before taking them to the theaters for this one!

Friday, November 20, 2015

First Snow Friday

Happy Friday everyone! Another week done and closer to the holidays. With all of the upcoming travel for Thanksgiving and a winter storm watch in effect for much of Iowa tonight, we at Haverkamp wanted to remind you to drive safe and stay warm this weekend!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Small Business Saturday

Every year, the holiday shopping season starts off with a bang the day after Thanksgiving. We know it as ‘Black Friday,’ infamous for manic crowds of people who won’t hesitate to throw some elbows for a discounted flat screen.

Ironically, the biggest shopping day of the year falls after the holiday dedicated to giving thanks, and many people are beginning to distance themselves from the shopping spree and spend more time with their loved ones. A handful of major retail stores are keeping their doors closed for both Thanksgiving and Black Friday, allowing their employees more time with their family. Other stores, however, are offering their sales earlier and earlier- some as early as Thanksgiving night.

Other reasons for a decline in Black Friday’s popularity is the growing trend to shop online on Cyber Monday or in person on Small Business Saturday. These alternatives to Black Friday have grown wildly popular in the last couple years, and it doesn’t require shoppers to stand in line for hours or face the crowds.

This year, we at Haverkamp Properties encourage you to skip Black Friday and support your local businesses on Small Business Saturday. American Express, who first started this event back in 2010, has a complete list of participating businesses on their website. Many of Haverkamp’s Fun Money vendors are included and can be found in the Des Moines area, Ames, Cedar Rapids and more. You can see them all here

How will you celebrate this holiday season? Rather than leaving our homes and loved ones in search of big box deals, maybe we skip out on Black Friday altogether and support our small local businesses instead! 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Winter-proof your apartment

Winter-proof your apartment

Winter is nearly upon us, and any resident of Iowa knows how cold and bitter the season can be. Why not use these last few days of above-freezing temperatures to winter-proof your apartment?

First things first: make sure to always keep your heat on, even if you are leaving for the weekend or the holidays. It doesn’t take much time for chilly winter temps to freeze your pipes and cause you bigger problems than a chilly apartment (like a wet, chilly apartment).

Keeping your place warm is all about the windows. This may sound like a no-brainer, but check to make sure all of your windows are completely shut and locked to avoid unwanted drafts. Sealing them with plastic helps lower heating bills tremendously, so consider this easy option to both save yourself money and keep your apartment warm. Don’t forget the curtains- heavy, dark curtains help keep the heat inside and freezing temps stay where they belong: outside.

Uncovering your vents is another way to efficiently heat your home. Many renters cover their vents with furniture (especially if they moved in during the warm summer months), so locating and keeping them open ensures that the heat goes to you, not the underside of your couch. The same rules apply to your radiator, if you have one.

Lastly, draft-proof your doors. This is another significant way heat escapes and cold air creeps in. If your doors have large gaps underneath them, you can get creative and make a DIY ‘draft dodger,’ a nifty insulated sleeve that you can learn more about making here:

Take these tips into consideration while preparing for the long winter ahead. Don’t forget your blankets and coffee!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day

Today we honor the many men and women who have served! We thank you, and Happy Veterans Day!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Back to the Future Day

BTTF_Day Celebrate today by having a Back to the Future movie marathon! Listen to the soundtrack on Spotify, and be on the lookout for Pepsi Perfect (which sold out I'm told), Nike power lacing shoes (or stick with the classic Nike Bruin, the shoe Marty wore in 1985), and hoverboards! Keep an eye on the Toyota website as well to check out their futuristic news!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Best Disney Halloween Movies (Part II)

You may recall a post we did last year about the best Disney Halloween movies. Well, we have to finish up the list this year! Here are some more classic films from your childhood in chronological order. Maybe you'll be able to catch one of these on TV this month. Or check other sources (aka YouTube). Just click on the link to read up about each one!

1. Tower of Terror (1997)

This movie is based on the Disney World attraction that has been in operation since 1994. It has to do with hotel guests that are actually ghosts. Spooky stuff!

2. Can of Worms (1999)

Freaky movie about aliens.. as if you couldn't figure that out by the picture alone.

3. Don't Look Under The Bed (1999)

This movie will really freak the 8 year old in you out! Complete with imaginary friends (that can actually be seen), the boogey man, and another creepy world right underneath Frances' bed.

4. Halloweentown II: Kalabar's Revenge (2001)

This is the second installment of the legendary Halloweentown movies. Kalabar's son tries to screw with reality and Halloweentown, making Halloweentown real and making the real world a place where monsters roam free. You gotta see this one!

5. The Scream Team (2002)

Last but not least, for this short list we have The Scream Team. Two kids move to a town where their grandfather just passed away. They think he is trying to communicate something to them. They end up dealing with some ghosts along the way: Mariah, Jumper, and Coffin Ed. Instead of spirits passing into the next life, there is an evil entity named Zechariah that captures the sprits and increases his power! Pretty intense!

There ya have it, some more must-see Halloween movies. Hope you've enjoyed this short outline!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Style Spotlight: Gothic

In honor of it being October and Halloween coming up, here we have the Gothic style. It originated in France in the 12th century and lasted to the 16th century. The most famous example is the Cathedrale Notre Dame de Paris.


Consisting of pointed arches, and vaulted ceilings, gothic style architecture is meant to display a sense of grandiosity. It is one of the first cases where a large emphasis was placed on decorative and ornate elements. Also, who can forget the gargoyles!? Plus, Gothic styles just have almost a creepy quality to them. Why else would you be reminded of The Adams Family whenever you see black, wrought iron chandeliers?

Style Spotlight: Gothic

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Tuesday Tunes: The Weather - 1983

If you like pop music, or music in general, you'll probably like this song by The Weather. Give it a listen!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Color Wheel: Mauve

The image above highlights when I was first introduced to the color "mauve" -The Hey Arnold! episode, Grand Prix, which debuted in 1998. Wow, I feel old. Mauve is basically a name for a light, pastel purple color. Fun Fact! William Perkin accidentally discovered the first synthetic organic chemical dye, mauveine, back in 1856. Originally, it was a more brighter purple color, however, over time it seems to have evolve to categorize a light to pastel hue of violet. Personally, I have trouble figuring out whether some of the colors below are really just a muted, dark pink tone. Am I color blind? Oh well, it's still a neat color! Color Wheel: Mauve  

Thursday, October 1, 2015

DIY Coffee Recipe: Iced Latte


Everyone loves Starbucks, but who wants to pay the Starbucks price of coffee every day? Here's a cool coffee treat to try on your own before it starts getting too cold out!

Iced latte


This specific recipe uses a Keurig. It is easy to make with any Keurig. There are some various ways to go about it, but they're all basically the same in the end! First, you'll need an espresso coffee k cup. It doesn't need to be anything special, just what you like. I personally have used regular coffee as well. You brew that coffee on the smallest cup brewing option. Let it fill a coffee mug since it will be hot! Then, transfer the coffee into a large cup with ice, and pour in your milk. Top that off with some caramel, vanilla, or whatever flavor you dig. Stir, and you've got a solid iced latte.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Style Spotlight: Fall

Fall is upon us once again folks, so it's time to get your gear and get festive! Of course we have the classic fall hues: oranges, browns and yellows. There's more to it than leaves and pumpkins though! Maybe try some chalkboard decorating, or make a simple water color painting like the fox below. You could use the weekend to get started on the decorating so you'll have your place looking fresh for the rest of the season!
Style Spotlight: Fall

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Style Spotlight: Surrealism

Are you getting bored of your highly refined, modern style interior? Looking for something to liven up your space? Well, look no further than surrealism! Surrealist styles have been around for plenty of years now, and still have their rightful place in interior design. Because surrealism incorporates such a wide variety of styles, you probably won't see two similar surrealist interiors. From the more abstract and influential, like art by Joan Miro, to the crazy animal morphology and almost life like, reality bending works done by contemporary artists, surrealism continues to push boundaries. It is the kind of thing that makes people go, "what the...?"

Style Spotlight: Surreal

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Color Wheel: Midnight Green

It's more of a blue than a green, but still an illuminating color in it's own way. It can instantly bring life to a room because of the strong presence it provides, yet is still a cool hue.

Color Wheel: Midnight Green

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

DIY Decor - Food, Friends, Fun!

DIY Donut Rug

This deliciously sweet tutorial allows you to create your very own giant donut out of a common household rug, like the ones you can find at Ikea. Check it out!

Pizza Pennants

Woah! Pizza pennants? Yes please!

DIY Guess Who

It's like that game you used to play when you were little, except this time it's with actual people you know. An interesting concept that could make this game a much more personal experience!

Wood Gemstone Garland

Add some color and creativity to your day with this gemstone styled garland!

Hand Stamped Citrus Wall DIY

Sweet citrus wall art. Awesome!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

8 Cool Crafts You Can Make with Vintage Silverware


You can upcycle pretty much anything! An article from offers up some neat ideas. Here's an interesting take on vintage silverware that you could try yourself!