CSVFD Annual Carnival

Next week is the Castle Shannon Volunteer Fire Department’s annual carnival.

Funnel cake 20040821 172200 1.1655x1275
Funnel cake is our favorite carnival food. What’s yours? Tell us in the comments below an share where in Pittsburgh you’ve had the best!

 

It’s not too late to get your $1 ticket for the car raffle and enter for your chance to win a Chevy, up to a $30,000 value.

The carnival starts at 7 p.m. each night and runs from Monday the 25th to Saturday the 30th. Closing times of the carnival will depend on attendance and the weather each night. The carnival takes place at the CSVFD, right off the Memorial Hall stop on the Blue Line of the “T”, and walking distance from Place Seville Apartments and Alvern Gardens Apartments.

Ride tickets can be bought for $2.50 at the ticket booth at the carnival. The typical carnival games of chance are also featured at the event, including poker tables and a duck pond.

There will be delicious carnival food: hot dogs, hamburgers, nachos, hot sausage sandwiches, cheese sticks, french fries, funnel cake, ice cream, cotton candy, snow cones, and more.

This carnival is a key fundraiser for the Volunteer Fire Department, so we hope lots of people turn out to play games, ride rides, and enjoy tasty food. And, of course, one lucky visitor will drive home in a new Chevy!

Parking is free, but limited, so if you can take the “T” or walk, we don’t recommend driving to the carnival.

 

Phote by Lorax at en.wikipedia. Later version(s) were uploaded by Pd THOR at en.wikipedia. (Taken by user Lorax and released under the GNU FDL) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons

How to make your apartment cat friendly

goofy cat
if your cat is a high energy goofball, creating a stimulating environment is essential for maximum feline felicity.

We’ve posted about this before, but we can’t emphasize enough how important it is to create a stimulating environment for your tiny tiger. Not only does it keep him happy, it keeps your home free of damage from a bored cat! This article hits all the most important points on “catifying” an apartment where space might be tight. We love the idea of creating DIY scratching posts out of chair and table legs!

Keep dogs’ paws safe this winter

As most dog owners know, regular walks and outdoor playtime are hard on paws in winter. Here are some tips for keeping your pup’s paws safe.

  • Don’t leave your dog outside unattended, even in a secured area that they’re used to roaming during warm weather. Keeping a close eye on your pooch is key to making sure the cold isn’t taking its toll.

    Dogs welcome at Alvern Gardens Apartments
    Just because I’m fluffy doesn’t mean I’m impervious to cold. Keep me safe in winter!
  • Shorten time spent outdoors, especially in extreme cold. Obviously, the less time exposed, the better. If you’re on a walk and your dog starts showing signs of being too cold (shaking his paws when he picks them up or even limping), it’s time to turn around and go home—whether he did his business or not.
  • Gear up with a coat and booties, if your dog will tolerate it. Some dogs can’t stand wearing clothes, and some don’t even need them, but if your dog has a wiry or thin coat with just a single layer of fur, it needs some protective gear. Even if she’ll only wear booties on her hind paws, it’s still better than nothing in extreme cold.
  • Stick to the grass instead of salted pavement. The salt that’s essential to keeping sidewalks safe for human pedestrians can seriously hurt a dog’s paws, so keep your dog walking in grassy areas, and if possible/necessary, carry her over salted patches of pavement.
  • Clean your dog’s paws as soon as you get back inside. Use a clean towel to wipe down all four paws, thaw out any clumps of snow that might have gotten caught in long fur, and check between the pads of each paw to make sure no salt has gotten stuck.
  • Don’t allow your dog to lick its paws. Excessive licking can cause sores (and stinky feet!), but it’s also a sign that your dog’s paws hurt. If you notice him licking, give his paws a closer look and make sure they’re clean and  not injured in any way.

Leafy Greens: Good for More Than Just Salad

Did you know that houseplants are good for your health? It’s true: plants absorb carbon dioxide from the air and release oxygen, improving air quality for humans. Plus, green stuff livens up a home and makes it feel cozier and more inviting.

Here are three tips for adding leafy greens to your home:

  1. If you’re new to keeping houseplants, start with something easy. Hearty plants that do well in low light and don’t require much watering are easiest for beginners. Check out this site for some really easy plants to keep. Our personal favorite is mother-in-law’s tongue, also known as a snake plant.
  2. Ready for plants that have been proven by NASA to help improve air quality? Check out this info-graphic, and note t
    pet friendly apartments
    While house plants are good for humans, not all varieties are pet friendly, so make sure you check plants before bringing them into your home.

    hat there’s some overlap between these plants and the hearty varieties that are easy to grow: snake plants, spider plants, and peace lilies.

  3. Pet owners should note that not all houseplants are pet friendly. The ASPCA has an expansive list of plants that are toxic to cats, dogs, and even horses. Filter this list by your specific pet(s) to know which plants to avoid. For a quick look at plants that are both cat and dog friendly, check out this site.
  4. Bonus tip: get a spider plant. They’re easy to keep alive because they thrive in low light and don’t require frequent watering, they’re proven by NASA to help purify the air, and they’re both cat and dog friendly. What more could you ask for? Well: if you know someone who already has a spider plant, they can break of a sprig for you to plant for free! As your own plant grows, you can break off its offshoots and plant them in new pots. Soon, you’ll have a spider plant for every room in your home.

Roundup: Most Popular Posts of 2015

On this, the first year of 2016, we’d like to take a look back on last year’s most popular posts. Happy New Year!

Pittsburgh First Night
Happy New Year!

45 Uses for Dryer Sheets This is post links to one of our favorite life hacking articles of 2015 featuring more uses fro dryer sheets than we could have ever dreamed of.

Farmers Markets in the South Hills of Pittsburgh This post is actually from 2014, but a popular post is a popular post (even if it’s not farmers market season right now). Keep these markets in mind come spring, and you’ll be enjoying fresh, local produce for as long as it’s in season.

Day trips and weekend getaways around Pittsburgh Though this post is from summer, it’s still relevant in January. Sure, Cedar Point’s out, but, Seven Springs as a year-round wonderland of fun for the whole family.

Christmas safety

By this time of the year, most halls have already been decked, but for those who haven’t gotten around to trimming their tree, here are some safety tips.

  • Know what kind of tree you’re allowed to have. If you’re living in a rental, chances are your landlord doesn’t allow real trees. Real trees are a much more serious fire hazard, so make sure you follow your landlord’s rules.

    Dogs welcome at Alvern Gardens Apartments
    Don’t let me eat the Christmas lights!
  • Decorate the tree evenly. If your decorations are concentrated too densely on one side of the tree, the extra weight could cause your tree to topple, so distribute weight as evenly as possible.
  • Keep decorations away from heat sources. Make sure no tinsel is touching radiators and that nothing is dangling into the fireplace.
  • Use only indoor lights indoors. Christmas lights are designed to for use either indoors or outdoors, so if you want to string lights inside your home, make sure they’re designed for indoor use.
  • Also, use only outdoor lights outdoors. Just like indoor lights are designed for safe use indoors, make sure the lights you use to decorate the outside of your home are designed for outdoor use.
  • Secure decorations so they can’t be torn down or damaged by children or pets. The safest way to do this is to place or hang them well out of reach.
  • When in doubt, don’t put it up. If you’re not sure it’s safe, don’t use the decoration. This is especially important with regard to fire hazards and child safety.

Know the rules, don’t get burned

When you rent an apartment, you enter into a contract with your landlord, so it’s important that you understand all the terms and conditions of that contract.

Your landlord or an agent of your landlord will likely go over your lease with you at the time of your signing or have you read it before you sign. This is the best time to ask for clarification if there’s anything you’re not sure about. But this should not be the last time you ever look at your lease.

security deposit, lease
Knowing the ins and outs of your lease is key to saving you money and aggravation if any issues should arise.

You will receive a copy of your lease that, of course, you should keep on file in a safe place. When you first receive that copy, you should look it over and refresh yourself on the important points:

  • The amount of your rent, when it’s due, and how you are to pay and where you should send/bring it
  • Late fees, fees for bad checks, and other charges you could incur
  • What utilities are included in rent and what you need to pay yourself
  • The duration of the lease, especially the exact end date
  • Rules about renewing your lease and when you can expect to receive a renewal notice
  • Rules about ending your lease early in the event of a job transfer or other situation
  • Parking regulations
  • How to report maintenance issues and other concerns
  • What, if anything, your are responsible for by way of repairs (most commonly, renters are responsible for changing light bulbs and batteries in smoke detectors)
  • Your landlord’s contact information
  • Your exact address
  • Stipulations regarding your security deposit (when will it be returned, and what do you have to do when you move out to ensure its return)

Yes, some of these points are basic, but you’d be surprised what can slip your mind amidst the chaos of moving. Plus, if you give everything a second look right away, you’ll be more likely to remember it later on when things like renewing your lease become a more immediate concern. When you come across phone numbers for maintenance and your landlord’s office, save them in your phone and also write them down in an address book or save them in some other secondary location.

If you have a question for your landlord about something, take a moment to pull your lease out of its safe spot and see if anything written in it answers your question. If not, call your landlord and ask. If you’re even the least bit unsure about what your lease states about a certain issue, such as under what conditions you would be allowed to end the lease early, call your landlord for clarification and write yourself a note to attach to the lease for future reference. When you’re done, remember to put the lease back in its safe spot.

Knowing your lease is the key to having a good experience renting, so if it’s been a while since you looked at yours and you’re fuzzy on the terms, pull it out and give it a read.

Moving? Here are 10 tips for a smooth transition

Moving is a hassle, yes, but if you’re organized and plan ahead, you’ll save yourself plenty of headaches. Here are 10 tips for a successful, less stressful move.

  1. Measure twice, move once. Not only should you know the dimensions of the rooms in your new place, you should know the size of the doorways and hallways that you’ll have to maneuver furniture through. Plus, you’ll need to know the dimensions of your furniture.

    moving tips
    A couch like this one might not come apart, but IKEA furniture (like the tables and chair pictured here) is designed for simple assembly–and dis-assembly.
  2. Make check lists and use them. Go through your old place room by room and list all the items you need to pack up and move. Check off items as you move them onto the moving van, and check them off again as you unload them at your new place. This way, nothing will get lost or left behind.
  3. Label your boxes. This might strike you as a no-brainer, but it’s such a quick, simple step that it might easily slip your mind. Unpacking in your new place really will be much easier if you know what each box contains without having to look inside.
  4. If it comes apart, take it apart. It might seem easier to move with intact furniture, but it’s actually much simpler to break down everything into manageable pieces. Pull the drawers out of dressers (you could leave items in removed drawers in lieu of boxes) to lighten the load. Take apart your sectional and reassemble it in its new home. Unscrew the legs from you dining room table for flatter transport and an easier time fitting it, piece by piece, into the allotted space.
  5. Wrap it up. This might sound goofy, but cellophane is your friend when it comes time for moving. If you already have all your silverware inside a drawer organizer, all you have to do is wrap that in cellophane and it’s ready to move. Remember those drawers you pulled out of your dresser? Wrap them in cellophane to secure the items inside, no boxes needed! Buy the cheap stuff and wrap up your whole mattress and box-spring to protect them during the move and make it easy to slide them across carpeted floors.
  6. Clean your trash cans and use them for storage. You can even nest a small bathroom can inside your bigger kitchen can and then store stuff inside. Suddenly, you have a box or two fewer to lug from place to place.
  7. Use your Tetris skills and leave no space unused inside boxes or inside the moving van.
  8. Know where you can park. If you have a large moving truck, make sure you know the neighborhood’s rules and the borough’s ordinances about where you’re allowed to park it and for how long. The last thing you want is your truck full of all your possessions getting towed. Your present and future landlords are likely in the know about this stuff, so ask them where you can pull up as you vacate and later as you move in.
  9. Take pictures. After you’ve vacated your old place, take pictures of everything as evidence that you cleaned up and took everything with you. It’s a good way to go through one last time and make sure you didn’t forget anything. Before you start moving into your new place, take pictures of everything exactly how you find it. The pictures of your old and new places will be important when it comes time to get your security deposit back. Once you’re done moving in, take pictures of everything in its place to keep on record in case you need it for insurance purposes. If you decide to feng shui later, take more pictures. While you’re at it, take some pictures for your scrapbook to preserve the memories.
  10. Remember how you handled the move. There’s a fair chance that you’ll be moving again in the future, so after the move is complete, sit down and think about what went well and what could have gone better. It’s probably a good idea to write this reflection down for future reference. At the very least, you should recall the size moving van you rented, how you got everything into the apartment, and how you got it all to fit in said moving van. You’ve already solved the puzzle once, so save your future self the headache of having to do it all over again.

Do you have your own moving tips? Share them in the comments below.

Related Posts:

How to get your full security deposit back

How to clean your acrylic bathtub (and save your security deposit)

How to keep your cat from costing you your security deposit

Spring cleaning tips: good for your security deposit

How to decorate a 2 bedroom

Apartments near public transportation in Pittsburgh

Last week, we offered advice on how to find an apartment near public transportation in Pittsburgh. This week, we’re featuring the Prudential Realty communities close to bus and T stops. If you’re on the hunt for a new place, one of these might just be exactly what you’re looking for.

pet friendly apartments
Alvern Gardens has all the amenities you need, including a dog park and a T stop close by.

Alvern Gardens Apartments

Looking for an affordable home for yourself, and maybe for a small pet? Not only is Alvern Gardens mere blocks from the St. Anne’s T stop, it also welcomes cats and dogs under 40 lbs. There’s even a dog park on site as well as a pool. If you’re interesting in Alvern Gardens, email alverngardens@yahoo.com or call 412-561-4663.

The Brett Apartments

The Brett Apartments in Shadyside are close to several bus stops that will take you to Oakland, South Side Works, and beyond. Plus, if you have a car, you could park it in the garage. Call 412-722-8546 for the current availability at the Brett Apartments.

free parking
In addition to its garage, Place Seville has a free, first come, first serve parking lot for its residents.

Cornell Place

For an apartment in a beautiful building complete with stained glass windows close to shopping and dining in Mt. Lebanon, Cornell Place is just what you’re looking for. Located about 10 minutes walk from several bus and T stops, you have plenty of options for getting where you need to go. Call 412-401-9848 for the current availability at Cornell Place.

Place Seville Apartments

covered parking
Some of the Sleepy Hollow Townhouses have a little deck over the garage entrance, so a second car in the driveway can be partially covered as well.

If you’d like to live at the heart of Castle Shannon, Place Seville is the place for you. Located steps from the Overbrook Junction T stop, Place Seville offers 1 and 2 bedroom apartments as well as covered parking for those who have cars. Call 412-563-7256 for the current availability at Place Seville.

Sleepy Hollow Townhouses and Apartments

From 1 bedroom apartments to 3 bedroom townhouses, Sleepy Hollow has the right size home for you. Plus, the Memorial Hall T stop is right down the road. Call 412-401-9848 for the current availability at Sleepy Hollow.

No car? No problem! Here’s how to find a home close to public transportation

Whether you’re moving to Steel City for the first time or you’ve been in Pittsburgh for a while, it pays to familiarize yourself with the Allegheny County Port Authority system and take public transportation into your calculations as you look for an apartment.

Even if you have a car, public transportation is a wonderful thing:

  • It gives people without a car a way to get around, particularly over less than walk-able distances.
  • It’s a safe way to get home after you’ve had a few drinks.
  • If the weather’s bad and you don’t feel comfortable driving, public transportation can get you where you need to go.
  • Not only does it let you avoid traffic (Hello busway!), more people taking public transportation leads to fewer vehicles on the road, which in turn leads to less traffic.
  • It’s good for the environment: using public transportation reduces your carbon footprint.
  • It gives you down time to read, study, browse social media, play games on your phone, etc.
  • Texting and driving is illegal in Pennsylvania, and talking on the phone is dangerous, but you can do both of those things legally and safely while taking public transportation.

Don’t live close to public transportation? Maybe it’s time to move. Consider the following:

  • After reading the above list, do you think public transportation would make your daily commute easier?
  • Would visiting friends and family (and them visiting you) be easier if you lived closer to public transportation?
  • Do you have kids who don’t have licenses or cars but are old enough to strike out on their own?
  • Do you or your spouse ever get stranded because the other person has the car?
  • Do you dread going out on the town because it requires finding parking?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you stand to benefit from moving to a place close to public transportation. Read on to learn how to find your new place.

  1. When you’re on the hunt, include access to public transportation high on your list of desired amenities and consider the various financial pros and cons of potentially paying a little more rent to live that much closer to a stop.
  2. As you scour the web and rental magazines, map each property’s location using Google Maps, which can give you public transportation directions as well as driving directions. Take advantage of satellite view and street view. Make note of the points of interest that appear on the map, such as grocery stores, vet clinics, and anything else important to you.
  3. While touring a property, don’t look just at the house/apartment, look at the neighborhood. How far of a walk is it to the closest bus or “T” stop? Is it a pleasant walk through a nice neighborhood with well maintained sidewalks and ample street lighting? Drive or even walk around a bit to get a feel for the place. If you can, return at night and see how you feel about it then.
  4. Once you’ve seen some of your options in person, it might help your decision making process to get back online. For example, Port Authority’s Trip Planner works beautifully for seeing exactly how to get from A to B in Pittsburgh. But don’t look just at the route you’ll need to get to and from work. Look at the full schedule so you know how late everything runs and how early it starts. Look up how you might get to your best friend’s house or your favorite restaurant. As you map various routes, you’ll get to know the neighborhood and see if it works for you.
  5. Make decision, apply for the place you want, and prepare to move.

Stay tuned for next week’s post highlighting Prudential Realty communities close to public transportation. We might just have the new home you’re looking for!