Another Fun Thursday Rundown

Good evening, readers! I hope your week has been as fun as mine. If it hasn’t, don’t worry, it is just about to get better. Why you ask? Because it is time for the Thursday Rundown. Here we go!…

Golf Lesson – Last night, Sidney and I took our first golf lesson together. I have had a desire to learn how to play properly for a long time now and when I asked Sidney to join me she didn’t hesitate in saying yes. We are taking “couples lessons” through the Golf School of Myrtle Beach at River Oaks Golf Plantation. Our first hour lesson was fun. Although it rained for the first half of it, the weather cleared up for the last 30 minutes. Our instructor is great and hopefully we will continue to learn a lot. In case you are wondering it wasn’t even close, Sidney did much better than me.

Live Look at College Learning – One of the social media campaigns I have implemented for the academic year at Coastal Carolina University is an “Inside the Classroom” initiative. Each Tuesday I will go inside a classroom here at CCU and document it through our social media channels. If things go as well as they did for the debut of the program this past Tuesday, I am going to have a lot of fun. I started off in a black and white photography class taught by a man named Easton Selby. He was totally welcoming to me and let me do whatever I wanted while class was in session. The access was great but what I enjoyed the most was just getting inside a university classroom again and listening to a professor interact with students. Hearing the natural way Easton chatted with his students made me want to be in college!

One of the photos I took in Easton Selby's Intro to Black and White Photography class on Tuesday.

One of the photos I took in Easton Selby’s Intro to Black and White Photography class on Tuesday.

School is in Session – This week both Sidney and I welcomed back students. I did so with my role here at Coastal Carolina University. Sidney, however, did so in a more significant way. The first day back for the Horry County School District was today. Sidney returns to Palmetto Bays Elementary as a second grade teacher. While she has prepped for the school year to start for the past couple weeks and while she met her students at an open house a couple days ago, nothing compares to that official first day of school. Let me tell you this, those students who walked into her classroom this morning are in for a treat over the next 180 days. I can’t wait to have Sidney guest blog about her teacher experiences!

First day of class selfie on the left and Sidney's class on the right.

First day of class selfie on the left and Sidney’s class on the right.

Pasta Night – Every now and then I like to share an example of my apartment complex doing a cool thing. This evening, Alexan Withers Preserve treated us residents to a pasta dinner. We were all invited to the clubhouse and allowed to dish up our plates with a few different varieties. I have enjoyed nice gestures such as this since I moved in almost 16 months ago. Although I can’t wait to live in a house with Sidney once we marry, I am going to enjoy the remaining time I do have here at AWP.

My big plate of pasta at the Alexan Withers Preserve Pasta Night.

My big plate of pasta at the Alexan Withers Preserve Pasta Night.

Wedding Update #7 – You can now check wedding invitations off the list! Sidney and I decided upon our design last week. From the Reser family front, my mom and dad explained details of the trip to Myrtle Beach with other immediate family members over dinner last night. My mom also went dress shopping at Nordstrom and I hear she found something that she liked.


As always, I thank you all for taking time to read my blog. If you will now excuse me I have to let this pasta settle while getting ready for tonight’s “Big Brother” episode. Don’t Blink.

My Apartment Complex Going the Extra Mile

Almost nine months ago I made a big decision based primarily off of social media research. After accepting my job at Coastal Carolina University I needed to find a place in the area to live. Well aware that I would not get to visit Myrtle Beach until my actual move at the end of April, I knew I would be making my housing selection blind. Once I narrowed down my top choices, I used Instagram hashtag searches to find out more information about my prospective finalists. After reaching out to Instagram users based on these searches, I chose an apartment complex called Alexan Withers Preserve.

When I pulled into the complex after a four day cross country road trip I knew I had arrived home. Alexan Withers Preserve is an insanely nice place with immaculate grounds, a sparkling resort style pool, and the best apartments I have ever stepped foot in. Maintenance is done constantly, a clubhouse equipped with all the amenities is available to residents, and the couches/refrigerator/gardens/television that surrounds the pool compliments the property in a big way. But all this stuff doesn’t mean anything if the management doesn’t care about the residents living inside the community. Fortunately at Alexan Withers Preserve they do.

This is the pool at Alexan Withers Preserve.

This is the pool at Alexan Withers Preserve.

This evening provided me with yet another example justifying the last sentence I wrote. Tonight I attended the Alexan Withers Preserve Resident Holiday Celebration. Please keep in mind that this wasn’t just a tacky, halfhearted attempt to justify that they did something for their residents at Christmas. Rather, my complex invited all of us to the Texas Roadhouse for a nice meal on them. I had the option between prime rib, baby back ribs, chicken, or fried flounder. It also came with a salad and a side. We sat upstairs in a private room while AWP staff members came around and mingled with the tables. Obviously the management at my complex not only cared about inviting us to a nice restaurant, they also cared that we enjoyed premiere menu items in a welcoming and warm environment. I was very thankful and impressed.

The menu we ordered off of tonight.

The menu we ordered off of tonight.

This is just one way in which my apartment has showed that they value their residents. Every month or so Alexan Withers will offer a free continental breakfast. In October they put on a Monday Night Football party. Just because my favorite team happened to be playing in the game and just because they won (Seahawks beat the Redskins) weren’t the only reasons why I had a nice time. Pizza, wings, and drinks were provided and I got to watch all the action outside on the deck overlooking the beautiful pool on a gorgeous night. This past month, Alexan Withers hosted a Thanksgiving potluck for all residents. Although I was not able to make that particular evening I thought it was really cool that they would do such an event.

My prime rib tonight.

My prime rib tonight.

My complex also does several little things as well. They sponsor charity initiatives, hold contests, and offer incentives for referrals. They communicate frequently with us residents via e-mail and social media. They do their best to put a halt to the inconsiderate people who let their dogs go to the bathroom on the grounds. Management is in touch with us and an effort that is sincere rather than desperate is always on display to keep us happy and content at Alexan Withers Preserve.

Yeah, you are going to pay a little more to live here. But that extra money isn’t just evident in the outstanding apartment units, it is also evident in the community that is fostered. Don’t Blink.

How I Used Instagram to Choose My Home

Moving across the country to start a new job will give any person a mile long checklist of things to do before the official start date. When I accepted a position at Coastal Carolina University last week I put one of the most important and stressful components of relocation at the top of that list: housing. For the past several days I have poured a lot of energy into finding a nice place in the beautiful Myrtle Beach area. I am happy to say that with about three weeks to spare I have found my new home.

I did not take this decision lightly. Knowing only that I would definitely be renting I looked at houses, condos, and apartments. Not enjoying the luxury of looking at properties in person definitely adds an additional component of mystery and stress to the search but luckily I was not alone. The head of University Communication at CCU put me in contact with one of his real estate friends to give me advice and guidance throughout the process.

As the smoke started to clear I settled on an area where I wanted to live and I had my eyes set on two apartment communities. I left no stone unturned as I researched both of them through every means at my disposal as I scrutinized websites, read every review ever published, interrogated the leasing agents, and of course consulted my real estate contact. With me still going back and forth on what community I wanted to live at I decided to institute a tiebreaker by going to one final source…social media!

As I looked through the photos on the Facebook page of one of the two complexes I was looking at I saw a flyer for an Instagram contest they conducted (that creativity won them extra points from me right on the spot). Tenants could enter the contest and possibly receive money off rent by taking a picture at the complex and using a certain hashtag. Of course right when I read it I opened up Instagram and searched the hashtag.

Several beautiful photos showing the complex’s pool, pristine landscaping, and apartment layout popped up. Here I was looking at photos actually taken by tenants living there! No doctored or enhanced professional photos taken by the complex to possibly fool me. Although the photos looked nice these Instagram users were obviously submitting the images because they wanted to win a contest. Of course they were going to try really hard to post pictures that looked aesthetically pleasing. Because the promotion ended months ago I knew I could reach out to these people and get an honest opinion on what they thought about living at their location.

I targeted four of the people who entered the contest, two males and two females, and I commented on the pictures that they submitted. Well, technically I didn’t “comment”….it was more like asking them to tell me everything they liked and disliked about living there. Within a couple hours I had long, detailed responses from all four, with one of them transitioning into a very helpful e-mail conversation. The reviews they gave me were glowing. Besides the e-mail conversation I entered in with one of the people, I also asked follow up questions on Instagram to the others. I got the information I needed and of course it made my decision a no-brainer.

I received some great reaction from Instagram users who took the time to answer my questions. Here are the initial responses I received.

I received some great reaction from Instagram users who took the time to answer my questions. Here are the initial responses I received.

By April 28 (pending an accepted application of course) I will be living at Alexan Withers Preserve, an apartment community in Myrtle Beach that is absolutely gorgeous, only five minutes from the beach, and just a mile from the vibrant city center. Although those are just facts that you can get from the website, it was the reaction I received via Instagram that won me over. When legit people who I contacted out of the blue described the complex as “the best I have ever lived in,” “luxurious,” “overall I would recommend Alexan ten times out of ten,” “brand new,”and “the crowd is great” it eased a lot of my fears and uncertainty.

An image of the apartment complex I will be living in. Thanks to the Alexan Withers Preserve Instagram account for the photo. (@alexanwithers)

An image of the apartment complex I will be living in. Thanks to the Alexan Withers Preserve Instagram account for the photo. (@alexanwithers)

Social media helps me in my life every single day in multiple ways. I find it fascinating that even a service such as Instagram that is more designed to showcase photos rather than serve as a way for people to talk and ask questions can yield fantastic results. Congrats to Alexan Withers Preserve. They designed a contest intended to engage and reward current tenants but it also brought them a new one. I can’t wait to live there. Don’t Blink.