Holiday Travel Destination

Unfortunately, the cool winter months are upon us and there will be no sign of warmer weather for at least 4 more months. If you’ve been waiting for the perfect time to retreat and soak up some sun, now is your chance! Where should you go, you might ask? Look no further than the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Located just off the coast of Puerto Rico the U.S. Virgin Islands are made up of three main islands, Saint Thomas, Saint John and Saint Croix, and a handful of smaller islands. Saint Croix is the largest of the three and offers a gorgeous tropical climate with little seasonal change, warm sand beaches and crystal clear waters, making it the perfect destination for a winter get-away. To get to Saint Croix you will fly into it’s major airport, Henry E. Rohlsen Airport located right on the island.

As to be expected, Saint Croix has numerous noteworthy beaches and bays to explore. One of the bays to check out is Annaly Bay. Though it’s quite the trek to reach, the warm tide pools and top notch snorkeling are well worth the journey. If you’re looking more to relax, head over to Davis Bay, located at the Carambola Beach Resort. Complete with soft white sand, quiet atmosphere and hammocks, Davis Bay is the perfect place to recharge.

If you’re looking for a family adventure, be sure to check out the Air Skills Institute where you can take to the skies and see Saint Croix island in a whole new way! Saint Croix jumps are open on weekends between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. and don’t worry the Air Skills Institute has 25 years of sky diving experience.

If you’d rather keep your feet planted on the ground, there are plenty of other activities for you to choose from including a number of museums and historical sites. Two spots to add to the list include Fort Christiansvaern and the Estate Whim Plantation Museum. Fort Christiansvaern was completed in 1749 and was used as protection from pirates or other invaders. It also served as a police station and courthouse, but now displays 1830s furnishings and exhibits local military history. You can also travel back to the 18th Century as you walk the building at the Estate Whim Plantation Museum. Tour the oldest sugar plantation in the Virgin Islands and take a walk through the greathouse, see the fully restored windmill and of course, the ruins of the sugar factory.

When the day turns into night, be sure to explore all that the nightlife entertainment has to offer. Before you head out for a fun evening, enjoy a delicious traditional Caribbean meal or order something with a French or Thai influence. After dinner visit one of the many local bars to hear some live music or maybe even impress your friends with your karaoke skills.

Whether you’re looking for an adventure or nothing but relaxation, you can find it all on the island of Saint Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. So, pack those bags and escape some of the cold winter weather months!


DIY: Holiday Craft

What you need:

· battery operated tea lights
· red ribbon (thick and thin)
· red pipe cleaners
· red pom-poms
· black sharpie
· orange sharpie
· glue gun
· scissors


1. Draw the face of a snowman on the tea light with the black sharpie.

2. Cut a piece of pipe cleaner about 2.5 inches long and use a glue gun to attach pipe cleaner to the curved portion on the snowman’s head.

3. Use more glue to attach the pom-poms to each end of the pipe cleaner.

4. Cut a piece of ribbon that is about 4.5 inches long and overlap the ends to look like a scarf. Combine ends with a dot of hot glue.

5. Glue the inside, back of the ribbon to the back of the tea light.

6. Cut a piece of thin red ribbon about 11 inches long – slide on end under the pipe cleaner and tie a small knot with the ends.

7. Color the ‘flame’ part of the tea light with the orange sharpie.

8. Hang your creations on the wall or on your tree!


Recipe: Life is better with fresh baked cookies!

2 Eggs
1/2 cup Canola or Vegetable Oil
1 box Betty Crocker Dark Chocolate or Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix
1 bag Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips

1. Combine cake mix, eggs, and oil in a large mixing bowl and beat well.
2. Stir in peppermint crunch baking chips.
3. Chill dough in refrigerator for 1 hour.
4. Form 1 inch balls and drop onto ungreased non-stick cookie sheet.
5. Bake for 7-9 minutes at 350 degrees.

Recipe from:

5 Helpful Tips for Hosting the Holidays in Your Apartment

1. Be Mindful of the Temperature. When you entertain a large group, we recommend you lower the thermostat 2 to 4 degrees a few hours before your guests arrive. Unless you put an extra dose into your apartment before your guests arrive, your HVAC system will lag behind the unexpected demand.

2. Designate a Spot for Your Guests’ Things. When having guests over, it is a good idea to have a place in mind for them to stash their coats, gloves, hats, purses and anything else they may have brought with them. This keeps the main entertainment
space open.

3. Limit the Amount of Utensils Needed for Food. When making food for a larger group of people, it is important to be aware of the amount of dishes and utensils you need. Finger foods are fun and leave you with less clean up! Be sure to have your sink and dishwasher cleared for any incoming dishes.

4. Spread Snacks Around Your Home. Once all of the delicious snacks are ready to serve, take a moment to find places around the room to set them up. That way all of your guests are not all clumped together in one spot and it makes better use of the space.

5. Guest Suites – If you have guests in from out of town, contact the leasing office about available guest suites in your community. The suites are definitely cheaper than a hotel and will feel like a home away from home!

Ask Richdale: What is the easiest way to clean my microwave?

Fear no more! Cleaning your microwave is probably the easiest chore to tackle in your apartment home. Eliminate stubborn grime with this simple method.


  • Microwave-safe bowl
  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Sponge


  1. Pour equal parts vinegar and water into the bowl. Measuring a half a cup of each liquid is good enough. For a deeper clean you can use one cup water and one cup vinegar.
  2. Place the bowl in the microwave and heat for five to ten minutes, depending on how dirty the microwave is. When the timer beeps, leave the bowl in the microwave for a few minutes to let the steam work its magic.
  3. The bowl will be hot! Take it out of the microwave with oven mitts. Dip a sponge into the bowl of water and vinegar, and wipe the inside of the microwave clean. You probably won’t even need the help of a sponge… the steam should make everything disappear with a quick swipe of a paper towel.


Richdale’s Spotlight Community of the Week- BelleMeade Apartments

Our latest West Des Moines area development, BelleMeade Apartments, is nearing the end of construction and will begin leasing soon! This boutique ultra-luxury condominium-quality community offers both midrise and townhome style living, and is expected to set the standard for the metropolitan area.

With only 180 residences, all with undercover parking and custom architectural features, BelleMeade boasts modern floorplans with exceptionally large living spaces, high ceilings, and elevators combined with our signature first-class amenity package. Experience top-notch living in Des Moines without the maintenance hassles of ownership! 

Contact Richdale Apartments at 888-391-APTS for leasing information. Your perfect home could be waiting at BelleMeade!


Date Night in Omaha: Restaurants Winning Richdale’s Seal of Approval

Pitch Pizzeria was recently recognized as a “Top 100 Hot Spot Restaurant in America”. They have everything from your classic onion rings and calamari to plates of cured meats, artisan cheeses and fancy Goat Cheese Peppadews. Gourmet pizza and pasta accompany burgers, duck, and salmon on their extensive menu.


Salt 88 has won so many culinary awards it basically rules the restaurant scene in Omaha. The modern dining concept pulls inspiration from Old European dishes and adds a twist. Not only will the ambiance, excellent service, and unique wine list impress, but they also provide recipes and how-to videos to prepare their favorite dishes.


Mantra is your new favorite brunch, lunch, and dinner go-to. Voted best new restaurant on UrbanSpoon and making the top 500 restaurants in America list, the two experienced owners of Mantra know how to attract a crowd. Brunch includes eggs benedict, Belgian waffles, and cucumber sandwiches. Crab cakes, enchiladas, and lamb burgers are served in the PM.

Richdale’s Omaha communities including The Biltmore, Bristol Square, Embassy Park, Kensington Woods, LionsHead, and The Vanderbilt are located 10 minutes or less from Mantra and Salt 88. Pitch Pizzeria is about a 15 minute drive from our apartment communities, but it is well worth the extra mile!