Inviting the in-laws over this holiday season for the first time? Did you just move into a new home and want to have everyone for Thanksgiving dinner? Will you be celebrating at Christmastime with your large extended family? We put together some entertaining tips perfect to have on hand in your home this upcoming holiday season.
Be strategic about the menu
Do as much as possible ahead of time. In smaller homes with just one oven, it’s ideal to serve a salad or cold appetizer to help your guests stay full if you’re waiting for things to come out of the oven.
Figure out a place to keep coats and purses
Store winter weather items like coats, hats and gloves in a place out of the way, like a bedroom or a spare corner of your closet should you have one.
Here’s a great idea for those with smaller counter spaces—serve upward with tiered plates. Not only does it look fancier, it saves a ton of space in the long run allowing for more food and fun.
Make sure everyone knows where the trash is
Things can get dicey—and dirty—with everyone leaving cups, plates and napkins everywhere if they are unsure of where your trash can or recycling bin is. Leave it in plain sight and it’ll save you tons of cleanup afterward.
Use battery-powered candles
If you’re planning on having children and pets over for the holidays, battery-powered candles are your best friend. It eliminates and potential dangers and allows for lots of ambiance in the meantime.
Create a flow
If your home has a gorgeous living room and you want to show it off, consider setting up your appetizers and bar near or in there.
Serve dinner buffet style
Save lots of room by setting up a buffet perfect for grabbing dinner then sitting down at a large, clutter-free dining room table.
The East End of Pittsburgh is a perfect area to settle in with a family. There are great schools, plenty to do and many gorgeous homes kept up extremely well. We compiled a list of five homes in the area worthy of a look.
This stunning condo in Shadyside combines traditional craftsmanship with updated amenities. Enjoy original crown moldings and custom ceilings. There’s a formal living and dining room too. The bright kitchen is a standout, with a marble floor and granite countertops. The lower level has a separate 2-room suite and bath too. This three-bedroom three bath home is ideal for a young professional, newlyweds or small family who appreciate elegance, quality and unparalleled views. Listed by Howard Hanna Murrysville
If you want updates, this home will give them to you! Enjoy completely updated mechanics and landscaping and spectacular three floors of living space. There’s also a large, flat, private backyard accessible via a patio area off the kitchen. This four-bedroom home in Squirrel Hill is truly charming and move-in ready for a family today. Listed by Coldwell Banker Real Estate
This gorgeous custom-built home includes majestic Cathedral ceilings, natural light and impeccably made hardwood floors. There is a large stone fireplace in the great room perfect for those chilly fall nights. If you’re a family who adores entertaining, this is the place for you. Enjoy an expansive kitchen, built-in gas grill, concrete patio and more. There’s also a unique catwalk to the upper bedrooms, overlooking the great room and entryway. Listed by Re/Max Heritage
This four bedroom, four bath home is situated on over one acre of gorgeous nature, with trees and grass all around. There’s a large less than five years old kitchen, a built-in double oven, gas cooktop, oak cabinetry and more. Enjoy relaxing evenings on a peaceful outdoor deck, a spacious master bedroom suite and more. Listed by Howard Hanna Murrysville
This renovated two-story home is located in Regent Square just minutes from downtown, Oakland and many major highways. There is a huge living room perfect for nights with all your friends and family (can we say Steeler parties?) and an equally large kitchen. The possibilities are endless with this home with unique touches like a rear bedroom with a little deck off of it. Listed by Re/Max Advanced Realtors
Can you believe it? The holidays are almost upon us. If you’re wondering what to do with your family this year, we put together seven suggestions perfect for celebrating all things sparkly and magical this season.
Information will be announced in early November and this website will have all the information you’ll need to know. The whole family will love the tree lighting, your older ones will have fun at the street concerts and the littler ones will love seeing Santa’s reindeer live at One Oxford Centre.
From December 1st through the 27th, enjoy one of Pittsburgh’s longstanding holiday traditions. See all your favorite iconic characters like the Sugar Plum Fairy, Rat King and more.
This year’s theme is “Holiday Magic!” and you’ll certainly feel like it stepping into Phipps’ winter wonderland. A new garden railroad will be on display as well as special lighting in the sunken garden. Don’t forget to bundle up the whole family, buy some hot chocolates and wander around outside at the light garden too.
Take everyone out for an afternoon of ice skating fun at PPG Place. Your older children will love the Instagram-worthy photos in front of the massive Christmas tree in the center of the rink. The younger ones will have fun learning to skate amidst the other holiday revelers. The rink opens Friday Nov. 17th this year.
Inspired by the original German Christkindlmarkts, the holiday market combines international flair, local charm and lots of holiday gift ideas. You won’t want to miss all the fun! The market runs from Nov. 18th through Dec. 23rd.
If Grandma and Grandpa are visiting, you’ll love seeing their eyes light up when you take them and your little ones on this cruise. There’s nothing like seeing grandparents get such joy out of little ones interacting with Santa! There are two-hour Santa fun cruises and Santa breakfast options available as well.
Squirrel Hill is a wonderful neighborhood to settle in. There is plenty of affordable real estate and many homes perfect for families.
Squirrel Hill has a vibrant cultural center. There’s a branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, the Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh and the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition. The community has a large Jewish population and houses the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh and the Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Pittsburgh.
Outdoor types will love the Chatham University Arboretum, located in the neighborhood. There’s also parts of Schenley Park and Frick Park.
Squirrel Hill is also home to some wonderful schools. There’s Taylor Allderdice High School, established in 1927. It was named after the president of the National Tube Company and was also a member of the Pittsburgh Public Schools Board. Private schools include St. Edmund’s Academy, a private nonsectarian elementary school and Community Day School, which is an independent Jewish day school. There’s also Hillel Academy, Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh and the Day School at the Children’s Institute.
Students can choose to spend their entire educational career in Squirrel Hill, as Carnegie Mellon and Chatham Universities are both in Squirrel Hill.
The neighborhood is represented on City Council by Corey O’Connor and Dan Gillman.
Notable Squirrel Hill residents include Myron Cope, famed Steelers broadcaster, Kathleen and Rob Marshall, theater directors and choreographers, and many others.
More information on Squirrel Hill listings can be found here.
Interested in buying real estate in Shadyside but would like to learn more about the area? We put together a brief post on everything you need to know before you invest in buying in the community.
Shadyside is a neighborhood in the East End of Pittsburgh. The neighborhood got its name from a Pennsylvania Railroad station in the area, named for its shady lanes. You’ll be well cared for moving to Shadyside, as a neighborhood institution is Shadyside Hospital, a member of the UPMC. Those who love the outdoors will be pleased to know a portion of Mellon Park is located in Shadyside.
Millennials looking to buy will be pleased to know Shadyside was rated the best neighborhood for millennials in 2014.
If you love to shop, Shadyside is home to boutiques and well-known outposts of stores like White House Black Market and Williams Sonoma. Shadyside is incredibly walkable too, with all three popular streets for businesses and shops close to each other.
Those who live in Shadyside have not changed since the 1920s—the neighborhood has always been full of families, young professionals, artists, musicians and students, many of whom live in apartments. There is an extensive bus system in Pittsburgh that serves Shadyside.
For families looking to move to Shadyside, schools are excellent. In addition to the public school system, Shadyside is also home to The Liberty School (a public school that is a magnet school), Winchester Thurston School, The Ellis School and the University School.
Shadyside has an active neighborhood association as well, known as the Shadyside Action Coalition. The coalition’s goals are to preserve values and laws of the community.
If you’re interested in seeing what’s currently on the market in Shadyside, click here.
Fall is such a fun time of year and there’s always something to do in Pittsburgh. We put together a list of fun activities to do this October and November in the ‘burgh. Looking for more to do? Don’t miss Pittsburgh Beautiful’s weekly round-up of things to do each weekend.
Enjoy a week’s worth of movies celebrating the horror king. For $28, you’ll get a five movie pass, but please book ahead as the movies sell out quickly.
The City Paper’s Best of Pittsburgh party will celebrate all the best restaurants. Enjoy bites from winning restaurants, a Boomerang Booth and a live performance.
On Oct. 27th, you’ll want to head down to 31st St. Studios for a huge party celebrating Halloween. Enjoy a huge lineup of DJs and artists with a spooky twist.
Through Halloween, this fall festival mixed with a carnival is perfect for the whole family. They’ll all enjoy pick-your-own pumpkin patches, hayrides, and slides named after the Liberty Tube and Squirrel Hill Tunnel Slides, a haunted barn and more.
Catch the gorgeous fall leaves as they change from the deck of one of Pittsburgh’s Gateway Clipper Fleet. Choose from a lunch cruise or sightseeing cruises. There’s no better hospitality than a Gateway Clipper tour.
Looking to buy real estate in the Murrysville area but are curious about the neighborhood and all it has to offer? We put together a brief post on the community.
Murrysville is a home rule municipality and formerly a borough in Westmoreland County. It became a home rule municipality in 1976.
The neighborhood is governed by a mayor who is elected every other year. Said mayor has a seven-member council whose members are elected every four years. The mayor has executive and administrative powers. In the mid-’70s, the Murrysville community transitioned through many forms of government and four legal name changes (including Franklin Township, Franklin Borough, Murrysville Borough and the Municipality of Murrysville). It’s been under the home rule charter since ’76.
Your children will be well-educated in Murrysville. The municipality is within the Franklin Regional School District. It operates five schools and boasts a high school graduation rate of 99.3 percent. The national average for public high schools is only 82 percent.
Notable people who grew up in Murrysville include actress Julie Benz, Robert Moose, former Pirates pitches from 1967 through ’76, Candace Otto, Miss PA 2003 and Dance Moms dancer Maddie Ziegler.
Murrysville is a cozy, welcoming town. Since 1933, it has had a tree sign spelling out the word “Murrysville.” The trees were landscaped by the local Boy Scout troop. In 1947 the sign was featured in Ripley’s Believe it or Not as the world’s biggest arboreal sign. Unfortunately it no longer holds that title.
Squirrel Hill is a vibrant neighborhood and full of affordable, spectacular real estate great for families, young couples and singles alike. We put together a list of five properties under $500,000 ready for move-in today.
This lovely 3 bedroom, 3.1 bath is a short walk to Squirrel Hill shops and boutiques. A gorgeous entryway will impress friends and family alike. If you’re a fan of fireplaces, you’ll enjoy decorative ones throughout the home. There’s also a beautiful stone deck in the backyard! For $399,000 it’s a great deal. Listing by Albert Anthony Real Estate
This charming 5-bedroom, 2.5 bath Victorian is right in the heart of Squirrel Hill. You’ll be able to walk to any and all amenities in Squirrel Hill, but you won’t want to leave your cozy home that often. The grand foyer includes original woodwork throughout and amazing French doors and fireplaces. You’ll love the spacious kitchen and fenced in yard for family (and Fido!) to enjoy. For $430,000, it can’t be beat. Listing by Howard Hanna Shadyside Office
At $434,500, 5628 Marlborough Road is a 4-bedroom, 3-bath gem. This ranch home on a quiet cul-de-sac is home to a brand-new designer custom kitchen and has a 2-car garage. The home has a fresh coat of paint and a finished family room. The large laundry room and family room are just waiting for a family to move in today. There’s a bonus extra fridge in the basement too! Listing by Your Town Realty LLC
A beautifully renovated, sun-soaked two-story condo is ready for move-in! The 2-bedroom, 2-bath condo includes a loft and lovely deck off the master bedroom. A thoughtful layout allows for an open floor plan with multiple uses. The condo is in the heart of Shadyside and it’s all yours for $439,000. Listing by Howard Hanna Shadyside Office
This three bedroom 1.1 bath home has a large living room perfect for families and a spacious garage and yard. The North of Forbes location is ideal too. Check out this $445,000 home before it’s scooped up. Listing by Howard Hanna Shadyside Office
Believe it or not, Halloween is fast approaching! Get a head start on your costumes with this list based on what’s hot in pop culture now. Happy Halloween!
For your teenage son – Pennywise from IT
Of course Pennywise would be one of the top costumes this year! Pick up an already made costume or suggest ways to dress up as him for your son (red ballon, white and red makeup, fiery red hair). He should scare the living daylights out of fellow trick-or-treaters!
For your middle school daughter – Eleven from Stranger Things
If your daughter is a fan of the show, dressing up as Eleven is fairly easy. A pink baby doll dress, knee socks, Converse and a bit of red makeup to mimic a bloody nose. If you’re short on time or not too crafty, Spirit Halloween sells an Eleven costume for under $45, which is a pretty good deal nowadays when it comes to costume prices.
For your partner (female) – Daenerys of Game of Thrones
If your partner and you were huge fans of Game of Thrones this season, dressing up as Daenerys is always fun. Wear a flowing maxi dress, grab a long bright blonde wig and braid it and get a toy dragon to hold or perch on your shoulder. If you both are superfans, get your significant other to dress up as Jon Snow.
For your partner (male) – David S. Pumpkins
Tom Hanks’ bizarre SNL character caught on with a cult following of sorts. All you need is a ridiculously loud pumpkin print suit that many Halloween costume shops sell (Spencer’s has one for $59.99). Don’t forget to walk around shouting his catch phrases like “Any questions?”
For your pet – Lion from Amazon Commercial
We’ve all melted at the Amazon Prime lion commercial. Now you can dress your pet up just like the golden retriever turned lion in the commercial. Get ready to hear so many “awwws” as you take your furry friend to trick-or-treat with the family, or keep them behind to help pass out candy.