Memorial Day Pool Openings in Pittsburgh

Memorial Day weekend is, of course, America’s unofficial pool opening weekend, and there are some great options available around Pittsburgh.

pool
Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise, and it’s a great way to stay cool on a hot day. (Residents of Alvern Gardens Apartments can enjoy their summer poolside for a $10 season pass.)

Sandcastle is opening its gates for the 2016 season at 11 a.m. on Saturday. There are a variety of ticket options, so check their website for details.

The Mt. Lebanon Swim Center opens at 11 a.m. on Saturday for an hour long adult swim before opening to the general public for the season. Season passes are available, but admission at the gate is also an option.

The Dormont Pool is slightly less expensive than the Mt. Lebanon Swim Center, and people living in the Keystone Oaks School District enjoy resident pricing. The Dormont Pool opens at noon on Saturday. Daily hours start on June 11, after school lets out for the summer.

The Alvern Gardens pool will open for the season at noon on June 11. Season passes for residents are available now at the leasing office.

Update: Farmers’ Markets

As promised, we have an update on the start dates for this season’s farmers’ markets.

Mt. Lebanon Partnership’s Uptown Farmers’ Market opens its season at 9 a.m. tomorrow. It takes place around 710 Washington Rd., Pittsburgh, PA 15228, by WesBanco and the Mt. Lebanon Municipal Building, just a couple blocks down from the Mt. Lebanon T station (Red Line) and walking distance from Prudential’s own Cornell Place Apartments. The market runs 9 a.m.-noon every Saturday through November 19th. On the second Saturday of each month, the market will include live music and other special activities. The first Second Saturday will take place on May 14th and will feature music from local bluegrass band The Mackin Family.

The twelfth season of the Market Square Farmers Market starts at 10 a.m. on Thursday, May 12. This downtown event is just a short walk from the Gateway T Station. The event runs 10 a.m.-2 p.m. every Thursday through October 27th and coincides with free outdoor concerts from 11:30 to 1:30. Special events like Christmas in July and Navy Week will take place throughout the season.

The Mt. Lebanon Lions Club Farmers’ Market won’t open until 4 p.m. on Wednesday, June 1. This one takes place 4-7 p.m. every Wednesday (no end date listed) at the Mt. Lebanon United Lutheran Church (975 Washington Rd., Pittsburgh, PA 15228)

Country Living’s tips for downsizing

We came across this Country Living article earlier this week and decided it’s a must-share. We’ve given lots of advice in the past about moving and how to make a smooth transition to a new home, but we’ve never shared anything about what to keep when you’re downsizing.

Alvern Gardens
Residents of Alvern Gardens have access to green space around the property for grilling, setting out patio furniture, and even planting their own small gardens, so moving here hardly feels like downsizing at all.

A fair number of our new residents are moving to apartments after living in houses for several years, and although they’re relieved that Alvern Gardens Apartments feature spacious layouts and included extra storage, there’s usually some stuff that has to go. Country Living advises putting special mementos, family heirlooms, and collections amassed over the years in storage rather than throwing them away. These are things that are important to you and your family, so they’re worth keeping in a safe space. For our part, we recommend buying plastic bins with tightly sealing lids to store those things securely. The article also notes the importance of wiping all personal information from electronics before getting rid of them, a key step that many people forget.

We also agree one hundred percent that important documents must be kept safe through a move. A small filing cabinet or even a filing box doesn’t take up much space and will help you keep your life organized.

Are you downsizing? Consider making Alvern Gardens your new home! We have a couple of three bedroom apartments available right now, and at 822 square feet with additional storage included in rent, we’re confident that you won’t have to compromise much on space. Call us at 412-561-4663 or email us at alverngardens@yahoo.com and be sure to ask about our move-in special.

Looking for a new home? Check out Alvern Gardens!

Alvern Gardens is currently offering a special on pet friendly three bedroom apartments: second month’s free rent and no pet fee! There are only a few three bedroom apartments available, so if you’re interested, call 412-561-4663 today for a tour.

Alvern Gardens
Residents of Alvern Gardens have access to green space around the property for planting their own small gardens.

The on-site leasing office is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Fridays. Walk-ins are welcome during these hours. If you’d like to schedule a tour outside of these hours, agents are available by appointment on weekday evenings and Saturday mornings.

The rent for the 822 sq ft three bedrooms is $815/month plus electric, all other utilities are included in rent, including heat, cooking gas, and hot water. All apartments are cable and internet ready (Comcast is the provider).

The spacious layout features separate living and dining rooms, a coat closet by the front door, and a linen closet by the bathroom. The apartments are equipped with brand new wall-to-wall carpeting, a full-size gas stove and refrigerator, ample cabinet space in the kitchen, and a ceiling fan in the dining room. Additional storage is included with each apartment.

Residents have full control over the radiator heat and are welcome to install as many window air conditioning units as they desire. All windows come with screens, locks, and stays, and are designed for easy ac installation.

Coin-operated laundry facilities are located in the basement. Four apartments share one facility, and there is a change machine in the on-site leasing office for the convenience of our residents.

The on-site dog park is open to residents and their pups during daylight hours. Plus, with pool season fast approaching, it’s worth noting that Alvern Gardens has a pool.

pool

Parking is on street, first come, first serve, with permit-only off street parking included with certain units. Garages are available for rent for $55/month.

Alvern Gardens is situated just a five minute walk from the St. Anne’s T stop, where both the Red and Blue Lines stop every five to twenty minutes. This quiet residential neighborhood is just minutes from shopping, restaurants and recreational areas such as the Ice Castle skating rink and South Park.

If Alvern Gardens sounds like the place for you, please call us at 412-561-4663 to inquire about the application process.

Apartment living: what your dog needs to know

Last week, we listed our picks for the best dog breeds for apartment living. We noted that some of the breeds, dachshunds for example, might need a little extra training to adjust them to close quarters. So this week, we figured we would go into detail about the kind of training a dog needs to do well in an apartment.

pet friendly apartments
For you and your dog to live comfortably in an apartment, he needs to be well behaved, friendly, and calm.
  • More church mouse than guard dog: Incessant barking is a problem no matter where you live with a dog, but it can cause serious issues when you live in an apartment. Your dog needs to be taught from day one to stay quiet when people knock on the door, come in and out of the apartment, and in and out of the building.
  • Professional walker: All dogs should be well trained when it comes to walking on a leash, but because apartment dwelling dogs stand to encounter a lot more traffic even in the hallways of their building, it’s extremely important that they heel properly.
  • Come when called: Even though most apartment buildings, Alvern Gardens included, have rules that dogs are not allowed off their leash outside of their own apartments, dogs should still be trained to come when they are called. Just in case they do sneak out the door, and for proper dog park etiquette as well.
  • No jumping: As we noted already, apartment dwelling dogs encounter a lot more people than house dwelling dogs. This means that they need to know how to behave when they run into strangers. A polite dog doesn’t jump up on every person he meets, and he certainly doesn’t bark or growl.
  • Friendly neighbors: Just as apartment dwelling dogs must be polite to their human neighbors, they must be polite to their fellow dogs. It’s unlikely that yours will be the only dog in a dog friendly building, so ideally your dog should know and be on good terms with all his canine neighbors as well as his human neighbors.
  • Crate training: Unless you plan to be home every time you need maintenance to enter your apartment, it’s important to train your dog to stay in a crate while you’re not home. Better yet, you could take him to doggie daycare, or hire a dog walker to come check on him while you’re at work. It’s safer for your dog and the maintenance man if your furry companion is kept out of the way. In fact, most maintenance men aren’t likely to enter an apartment if they aren’t sure the dog residing there is in a crate.

Best Dogs for Apartment Living

We’ve been posting a lot about cats lately, so we decided it’s time to post something about dogs. Really, we’re shocked we’ve gone this long without offering a list of the best dogs for apartment living. So here’s our list. These dogs don’t get bigger than 40 lbs, so they’re all approved for Alvern Gardens Apartments, but they each have more traits than size alone that make them great apartment dwellers.

  1. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: Quiet, cuddly, and friendly, these dogs do well in small spaces. We know one who is a proper, lazy gentleman who won’t lift a paw if it’s above 78 degrees outside, and once round the block is plenty exercise for him, too.Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  2. Pug: Quiet, friendly, low energy, at home in small spaces, and highly adaptable, pugs are popular for a reason. We’ve met a pack of pugs who are devoted sailors, so you can bet a pug will adapt just fine to any environment, even the tight quarters of apartment life.
    pug
    By DodosD (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
  3. English and French Bulldogs: Low energy (read: lazy), gentle, quiet, and good in small spaces, French and English Bulldogs make lovely companions in apartment life.
  4. Dachshund: With proper training, these stubby legged and spunky little guys make friendly, loyal family pets. They need a little more exercise than the other breeds on the list, but their short legs make for slow, easy walks, and they can get their workout indoors as well.dog-1083690_1920
  5. Shih Tzu: A calm, friendly breed that does well in small spaces, shih tzus are a classic lapdog companion. Plus, the goofy bow in the fur is not a requirement.dog-220393_1280
  6. Chinese Crested: Yes, this is that weird naked dog, and a member of this breed has been crowed ugliest dog alive, but did you know there’s a furry version too? Whether you prefer your crested hairless or powder puff (yes, that’s what they’re called), he’ll be low energy, he’ll do well in a small home, and he’ll be happy to spend hours just laying around.
    Powderpuff_Chinese_Crested_1
    By DodosD (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
  7. Japanese Chin: This little fluff ball is surprisingly low maintenance in the grooming department, requiring just one weekly brushing (as opposed to the daily brushing many fancy lapdogs demand). This is also a breed that does well in small homes.dogs-956677_1920
  8. Toy and Miniature Poodles: As their names indicate, these are small dogs that do well in small spaces. Additionally, poodles are very intelligent and easy to train, making them well disciplined apartment dwellers.dog-706958_1920
  9. Mutt: Although we’ve just listed a bunch of fancy pure-bred dogs, we have to confess that we love a good mixed breed rescue. Most shelters will be able to give you a rough idea of what’s mixed in, and researching the component breeds will give you a good idea of size, energy levels, intelligence, ease of training, shedding and grooming needs, as well as overall temperament and whether a pup will be suited to apartment living. It’s always a good idea to give a dog an in-home test run if you have the option.Dogs welcome at Alvern Gardens Apartments

More tips on how to introduce a second cat

Francis the Cat
Is your cat lonely? The linked article will help you make the perfect introduction between your current cat and a new companion.

Two weeks ago, we wrote about how to introduce a second cat into your home. Now, just in time for Valentine’s Day, we have another excellent article for helping you make a furry love match.

Always remember to clear the introduction of a new pet with your landlord before moving forward with an adoption.

Looking for a pet friendly apartment community? Alvern Gardens welcomes cats and dogs under 40 lbs. Call us at 412-561-4663 or email alverngardens@yahoo.com for our current availability!

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.

Why you should take out your window ac in winter

Window air conditioning units work wonders in summer, but in winter, they should be removed and put in storage. Why? Because energy conservation, that’s why.

First of all, no matter how snugly your ac fits in the window—and let’s face it, it probably doesn’t fit very well at all—there’s still a draft coming through. Only a fully shut and locked window is truly sealed against the elements. Ask anyone who’s sensitive to drafts and they’ll tell you they feel one when they stand in front of a window with an ac in it.

window air conditioning unit
At Alvern Gardens Apartments, residents are allowed to install as many window a/c units as they’d like, but it’s important that they remove them all before winter sets in.

Any sort of draft causes the energy output of your heating system to skyrocket because it’s constantly trying to compensate for that continuous flow of cold air. Taking out your window ac is the fastest, easiest, and most obvious way to stop drafts.

The more energy your heating system uses, the more money it costs to run it (obviously), but if you’re renting an apartment where “heat is included in rent,” you don’t notice that money blowing away in the winter breeze. But it absolutely is. When your lease renewal runs around, you’ll see that money again in the form of raised rent. When utilities are included in rent, the amount of rent reflects that. So if you’re causing your landlord to pay high utility bills for your unit by wasting energy, you can bet that your landlord will pass those costs onto you by raising your rent.

Now, there is another important reason to remove your window ac that applies only to those with radiator heat who have their ac installed directly above a radiator (which, if you have radiator heat, is probably exactly where you ac is… it’s more or less unavoidable). Radiators are made of cast iron and they can withstand a great deal, but one thing that is definitely a danger to them is the frigid cold air of deep winter in Pittsburgh. During extreme cold you should never open a window directly above a running radiator because that radiator can crack and leak. An ac inside a window directly above a radiator is pretty much the same thing as an open window above a radiator. If it gets cold enough, that little draft is going to crack your already overworked radiator.

Radiators are not easy to replace because, firstly they’re getting harder and harder to come by, and secondly the entire heating system has to be shut down to do the work. Then there’s the matter of repairing the damage from the leak. A single radiator can leak a whole lot of water and that water will not only destroy your flooring, it will destroy the ceiling in the apartment below yours. You can bet that if your radiator cracks because you opened the window, your landlord will charge for the full cost of repairs, and that’s going to add up to hundreds of dollars.

So when we say you should remove your window ac because it will allow you to conserve energy, what we mean is, you should remove your window ac because it will save you money.

Winter is coming (again): Is your home ready?

We’ve done quite a few posts now about energy conservation, spring cleaning, winterizing, and general home care stuff. As temperatures continue to drop in the Pittsburgh area, we thought we’d round up some of our past posts on staying warm, conserving energy, and preparing for winter.

Pittsburgh in Autumn
While we enjoy the gorgeous fall foliage, it’s also time to start preparing for winter.
By John [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Winter is around the corner

Pittsburgh’s cold winters call for special precautions

Snow is falling on Pittsburgh

Easy ways to conserve energy and save money

The good news for residents of Prudential Realty Communities like Alvern Gardens, Cornell Place, and Garden Villa is that the heat systems have been turned on for the season. Everyone should be warm and cozy even as outdoor temperatures drop.