Oh, July! Tis the season of fireworks, swimming, and backyard barbecues. Just because you’re living in a student apartment doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the most this season has to offer. Northpoint Crossing offers a myriad of amazing amenities including pool and grilling facilities. Take advantage of these attractions and invite your besties over for a little bbq and afternoon swim.
Keep it budget-friendly and grab your mitts with these BBQ ideas:
4 Ideas for a Budget-Friendly Summer BBQ
- Basics can be made great with just a little extra. There is nothing wrong with keeping to the classic yet basic favorites of hot dogs and burgers. However, you can make them a bit more flavorful with the addition of some simple extras to elevate their flavor. Think hot dogs with cheddar stuffed down the center and a wrapping of bacon. Or blue cheese and avocado baked in the center of burger patties.
- More is better. It is always, always better to make more food than less. Even if your guests skip out on seconds (or thirds), you can have them as leftovers. Such easily reheatable leftovers are a college student’s best friend.
- Don’t count out cheaper chicken cuts. You can find a bag of frozen chicken wings, drums, and drumettes for pretty cheap at your local grocery store. The key to turning these budget-friendly items into barbecue hits lies in the thaw. A delicious outcome relies on time and marinade. Start by opening the frozen bag and adding in your favorite marinade recipe. Give the bag a few good shakes to ensure an even coating and then throw it in the refrigerator for 48 hours. Make sure the grill is ready at 300 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit before removing the chicken from the refrigerator and throwing them on.
- DIY your marinades. As far as which marinade you choose, don’t discount your own home recipes. A mouth-watering glaze for your chicken, steaks, and pork chops can be made with common pantry ingredients like stock, balsamic vinegar, and maple syrup. Similarly, creating your own spice rubs is a great way to clean out your pantry and keep cooking costs down.
Finally, the best way to save money is to make sure you’re doing things right the first time. If this is your first time grilling and barbecuing, consider grabbing a simple cooking book or watching an instructional YouTube video.
All apartments and student housing centers are not created equal. In the hot days of June, there are few things students want more than easy pool access. At Northpoint Crossing, residents have not just one but two pools to celebrate summer in. And really, isn’t it time to officially kick off the start of summer?
Take advantage of Northpoint Crossing’s amenities and show your friends and fellow residents a great time with a pool party. Just consider the following tips for best effects:
How to Upgrade Your Basic Pool Party at Northpoint Crossing
- Choose an appropriate time. Talk with the Northpoint Crossing resident managers to nail down a good time. In general, because summer classes are back in session, you’ll probably find the most success with a Saturday or Sunday.
- Don’t forget the music (or the sunscreen). Music is the magic ingredient that really transforms a pool atmosphere into a party center. Make sure your iPhone has a waterproof case and grab some Bluetooth speakers to set up a little self-DJ station.
- Correlate photos with a hashtag. If you love Instagram, consider setting out a sign with the party’s hashtag to make it easier to look at everyone’s photos later. This is especially a good idea if the party happens to coincide with a friend’s birthday or grad celebrations.
- Grab the grillables. Swimming can really get an appetite going. Keep your guests filled and ready for a round two by stocking up on grillables before the party. There are several outdoor grills for use at Northpoint Crossing. Of course, if you really aren’t the cooking kind of person, you can always just opt to gather money and order pizza for delivery.
- Have some pool activities or games ready. Sure, some people are content just to mingle. But to get people laughing and engaged, you’ll want to have some pool acvitives or games in mind. This could be as simple as having a water volleyball (or basketball) set set-up or as involved as a frozen t-shirt contest. Check out this blog to get inspired with swimming pool games. You can keep things interesting on the pool deck with something like an oversized Jenga set.
Stop Reading and Start Swimming!
From swimming pools to rooftop terraces, exercise facilities, and grilling stations, Northpoint Crossing has all the amenities a college student might want. So why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of them? Go set-up that June pool party and splash into summer!
You don’t have to take a cruise out to the Caribbean or fly down to Mexico to have a good time and enjoy thrilling parties this Spring Break. You already know our state’s tagline of everything is bigger (and better) in Texas.
So save on the interstate (and international) travel and check out these hot places to party right here in Texas:
Top Texan Spring Break Destinations
- South Padre Island. Alright, we’ll start with the obvious for those who missed the annual memo. Long before MTV crews ever hit the shoreline, South Padre Island was the unofficial Texas Spring Break, must-go destination. In fact, the Travel Channel has ranked it as the number three best spring break destination in the world. Every year, this tropical oasis becomes college party central with cheap hotel rooms, wild day parties, great beach bars and all the sun, surf, and sand you could want. Other, less booze-filled activities, include boating, fishing, and even bird-watching for those outdoor lovers among you.
- Austin & the Guadalupe River. For a more laid-back, urban-meets-country spring break, take your crew to Austin. Here you’ll find some of the most exciting nightlife in the state as well as some delicious barbecue joints. Just make sure you spend at least one day (although we’d recommend more, because, why not?) out tubing on the Guadalupe River. With no ban on cans, you can drink and party while you float, but be sure to bring a floatable cooler for those empties, and kick back as the current takes you down. Pro-tip, check out this new outfitter if you don’t have your own tubing equipment or shuttle set-up.
- Port Aransas. Maybe you’re noticing a bit of a water trend, but really getting cool and wet before the heat sets in is what spring break is all about. Port A and its Mustang Island offer miles of sandy beaches to play in and near. This area tends to be significantly less crazy and crowded than the aforementioned South Padre Island but still offers plenty of day and nightlife excitement for college students escaping their dorms and textbooks.
Do you have your own favorite Texan Spring Break destination? Tips for where to go and what to bring? Sound off on social media and let us know where you’d rather be this March.
A large part of getting in tune with the holidays — any holiday — involves home decorations. For Christmas, that means busting out the wreaths, red and green sweaters, and of course, setting up the classic Christmas tree. But student life isn’t conducive to keeping the traditional fir tree alive over the holidays.
Are you eager to decorate for the holidays but don’t want a tree that’ll wither and die over the holiday break? Consider the following great non-traditional Christmas trees:
3 Non-Traditional Christmas Tree Ideas
- Hardback Christmas Tree. Frustrated that the bookstore won’t take back last semester’s books? Turn those used books into Christmas inspiration by constructing a Hardback Christmas Tree like this one. Start by grabbing as many books as you can gather and a couple of empty boxes. Sort your books by size and shape and use the boxes as an inner core of your non-traditional Christmas tree. Then simply stack your books in a pyramid-like fashion until you’ve reached the top. Use Christmas lights as the perfect final touch.
- Reclaimed Pallet Tree. Wood pallets are a staple of the shipping industry, but once they’ve reached their final destination, they generally get tossed out or sold for a couple dollars. This makes them the perfect staple for budget-friendly projects, such as for a non-traditional Christmas tree. All you need is a pallet (or a couple thin boards from the lumber store), a hammer, saw, nails, and some decorating materials. Cut and layer wood pieces along a cross-section so you form a tree-like pattern such as this Pallet Christmas Tree. Then decorate as you see fit! You can drape on the Christmas lights, use stencils or wallpaper for an extra touch, or hang Christmas ornaments from each board.
- A Ladder Tree. If you’re planning on having a lot of presents under your Christmas tree, or if you have a Christmas-themed display you also want to set up, then this Ladder Christmas Tree might just be the alternative option for you. The basics needed are just a ladder and some boards, but again you can take decorating as far as you want. Add lights and pine cones and pile the wrapped presents high on this functional and aesthetically pleasing faux tree.
Feeling inspired yet? Whether you choose to replicate one of the above non-traditional Christmas trees or have another idea in store, let us known how it goes. Take a picture and add it to the comments!
First off, the great thing about couples costumes is that you don’t need to be in a romantic relationship to slay the category. They require simply you and another person willing to go all out in the name of Halloween spirit. This may be your dorm mate, BFF, sorority sis, frat brah, nonsexual soul mate, or even your current hookup.
Our pro tip is simply to chose a second half that’s ready to have fun and dress up. Check out the following ideas for some inspiration:
Killer Couples Costumes for 2016
Couples Costumes of Janet Snakehole & Burt Macklin, FBI
Janet Snakehole and Burt Macklin, FBI. These two personas are the alter-egos of Parks and Recreation‘s characters April Ludgate and Andy Dwyer. It works as an A+ costume due to it being recognizable characters dressed up as other recognizable characters. Plus, both outfits are easy and cheap to create. Janet Snakehole appears as an aristocratic widow with a “very terrible secret”. Her look requires a simple white pearl necklace, a besparkled netted veil, wristlet, and black vintage dress. She carries a cigarette holder and plays every part of a dramatic heiress. Burt Macklin is even easier to pull off as it requires just aviator sunglasses and a jacket with “FBI” stitching.
- Pokemon themes. Pokemon Go was arguably one of the biggest social phenomenons of 2016. This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the release of the very first Pokemon game. So why not carry the love into Halloween? There’s also a ton of room to play around with on this theme, you may even want to grab more of your squad to join in on the costumes. The most obvious pairing is, of course, Pikachu with Ash Ketchum. But then there’s also the possibility of Brock and Nurse Joy, Team Rocket, or your own Team Instinct/Mystic/Valor Trainer.
- Joyce and the Wall. Stranger Things costumes are going to be huge this Halloween. But while many will try to recreate Eleven’s belle-and-the-savage look, why not look to go dutch on the theme and do Joyce and the Wall with your BFF? Joyce will take simply some mom clothes with perhaps a corded telephone and/or hatchet for extra effect. Whoever plays the wall needs only Christmas lights and letters. Combined? Instant Halloween hit.
Sure, there will undoubtedly be a lot of people dressing up on these last two themes this year. However, having fun with the aesthetic and making it your own is part of the challenge of couples costumes. Additionally, the repeat looks will give you plenty to talk to no matter where you go to party on Halloween.
One of the best aspects of staying on-campus at the student housing complex is being surrounded by other students. And so when you need a study break, there are plenty of other students ready to join you outside to enjoy the beautiful weather, some grilled eats, and much-needed socializing.
Why not throw a yard game into the mix to amp up the fun and encourage even the most resolute wallflower to join in?
Consider these outdoor games that are cheap, easy to set up, and great for socializing:
- Cornhole. Also known as Bag Toss, this simple game is played with two boards set apart. Each board has a hole at its top-center and the goal is for you or your team to toss as many of your 4 bags into that hole. Points are earned both by getting your bag into the hole and knocking opponent’s bags off the board. You can buy the game’s set-up at nearly any general retailer or make one using this easy how-to.
- Ladder Ball. Also coyly referred to as Redneck Golf, the game requires just a ladder and a set of bollos (can be made with golf balls and strings). Each ladder is assigned a different point value and the game can be played a couple different ways based on those points. For example, you could Blackjack rules and have the goal be 21, or you can simply have the person/team with the highest points win. Like Cornhole, you can either buy a version or get DIY with PVC.
- Rollors. This is somewhat of a new game and it isn’t one that can be easily reproduced, however, its ease of storage and set-up and simple game play has lent it to rapidly becoming a massive hit on college campuses. Rollors combines horseshoe with bocce ball, with the simple goal of the game being to get your (your team’s) Rollor disk to the game’s goal post. You can grab your own set on the company’s website or a sports retailer like Dicks.
- Bocce Ball. Of course, you could also skip the new-age refit and go for the classic Bocce Ball game. This outdoor game has been a hit since it first originated in Ancient Rome and is sure to be a favorite no matter where you pull it out. However, the importance of ball weight does make this more expensive and cumbersome to lug around.
Let us know what yard games you’re playing in the Northpoint Crossing common areas!
Ah, fall. The season of pumpkin spice and the start of a new school session. Which means, it’s Texas A&M football and tailgating season. We’re here to help you become the party star of Northpoint Crossing with easy tailgate food!
With the start of football season comes an opportunity for tailgating greatness. If you’re new to the TAMU scene, then one of the most important sports-oriented things you need to know about our school is that it has been consistently declared as the nation’s No. 1 college tailgating destination.
Now’s your chance to celebrate the team and whip up one (or more) of the following delicious and easy tailgate foods for the next pregaming extravaganza:
- BLT Hot Dogs with Caraway Remoulade. Ignore the fancy label and focus on the idea of hot dogs wrapped with smoky bacon and smothered with creamy remoulade. Yep, this is a guaranteed tailgating hit, and it’s much easier to prepare than you might think. Just check out this simple recipe that can created in under thirty minutes. Take notice that this version of the classic grillable is a bit messy, so be sure to pack extra plates and napkins.
- Fried Pickles with Spicy Mayonnaise (or Ranch). Finger foods are always a crowd favorite at tailgating and similar types of events.Bernell “Fatman” Austin was the first to popularize the dish in Atkins, Arkansas, now home to the annual Picklefest. Despite our favorite recipe for this coming from New York chef Zak Pelaccio, this is undeniably a southern treat. Pelaccio’s panko-crusted recipe provides for an extra-crisp finish that’s easy to grab and snack, but we like to skip its pairing recommendation of spicy mayo and go for the ranch. YMMV.
- Low Country Shrimp Boil. If you are going to be serving a crew of 10, 15, or more, then there simply is no better way to go than with the classic Louisiana Low Country Shrimp Boil. For a tailgate party, it’s best to cut everything up, such as the potatoes, onions, and sausage, prior to arriving at the tailgate (or having friends come over) so that you can then cook it all up over a single burner. This also makes it easy for others to contribute; just ask your friends to bring over their favorite sausage or extra shrimp and crawfish to add them to the pot as needed.
Have your own favorite tailgate recipe? Tell us about it!
Love is a wonderful thing, but on February 14th it can be a downer if you’re single. If you’re not in the mood to Netflix and chill by yourself, we’ve got you covered with some helpful tips for hosting a Galentine’s dinner party.
Popularized by the exuberant Leslie Knope of the hit show Parks & Recreation, Galentine’s Day is the younger, prettier, more single version of Valentine’s Day. It’s all about taking a day off from the boys and celebrating the friendships you have with your lady squad.
Need some inspiration? Here are a few ideas to make your Feb. 13 Galentine’s dinner party a great success:
- Personalize those invitations. Step away from Facebook. This is an event celebrating the uniqueness of your friends and the sense of companionship they bring into your life. As such, it deserves a bit more attention to the recipient than just an alert. You can choose either e-mail or snail mail, but have fun with it and, if your girlfriends aren’t familiar with the Knope holiday, be sure to double underscore the ‘no boys allowed’ clause at the Galentine’s dinner party. For a creative touch on the traditional, consider some of these Etsy ideas.
- Pack in some party favors. Okay, so few mortals will ever live up to the overproductive dream-machine that is Leslie Knope. A few of her Galentine’s dinner party party favors included mosaic portraits and 5,000 word essays illuminating each pal’s awesomeness. Here in the real world, your girl friends are likely going to be more than satisfied with rounds of laughter and mimosas. But packing in some party favors, like simple gift bags filled with candy and lipstick, is a great way to add an extra party touch.
- Break out the games. Not Monopoly (never Monopoly). Have a group of more than four? Mixing friend groups? Party games a great way to open up conversation and break out the laughs at your Galentine’s dinner party. Turn into crazy cat ladies with this 3D Deck of Cat Cards, drink mystery wine with Bottle Bracket, or get to know your friends a little bit better with Never Have I Ever. Before picking a game, consider your friends and choose one fitting their personalities.
Photo by Brooke Cagle.