Holidays In Pittsburgh

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Tips on Entertaining in Your Home This Holiday Season

Posted by Kate Oczypok on November 18, 2017  /  in Holidays In Pittsburgh, Tips  /  Comments off


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.

Serve upward

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.




7 Places to Take the Family this Holiday Season

Posted by Kate Oczypok on October 23, 2017  /  in Holidays In Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh  /  Comments off

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.

1. Light Up Night

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.

2. Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker

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.

3. Phipps’ Conservatory’s Winter Flower Show & Light Garden: Holiday Magic

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.

4. Ice skating at PPG Place

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.

5. The Holiday Market at Market Square

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.

6. Santa Cruise on the Gateway Clipper

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.

7. Small business Saturday at any of the East End stores and boutiques

Pittsburgh’s East End neighborhoods like Squirrel Hill, Shadyside, Forest Hills, Monroeville, Murrysville and more have many small businesses and boutiques perfect for small business Saturday.



Our Favorite Fall Spots and Activities in Pittsburgh

Posted by Kate Oczypok on October 13, 2017  /  in Blog, Dowtown Pittsburgh, Holidays In Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Things To Do in Pittsburgh  /  Comments off

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.

Row House Cinema’s a Celebration of George Romero

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.

Best of Pittsburgh Party

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.

Haunted Fest

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.

Triple B Farms Fall Family Apple and Pumpkin Festival

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.

Fall Foliage Cruises with the Gateway Clipper

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.



Halloween Costume Ideas for the Whole Family

Posted by Kate Oczypok on October 10, 2017  /  in Holidays In Pittsburgh, Things To Do in Pittsburgh, Trends  /  Comments off

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.




Congrats to Dawn – Winner of my Holiday Steelers Tickets “Give Back”

Posted by Lauren Klein on December 22, 2016  /  in Awards, Blog, Holidays In Pittsburgh  /  Comments off

Thanks to all who liked, shared and commented on my Giving Back For the Holidays post! It’s always great to have a little fun with my clients and followers, and always exciting to give a great big THANK YOU to all the wonderful people in my life.

A special congratulations goes to Dawn… the mother of Ben and Carl, from Squirrel Hill.  She is the winner of the Steelers/Ravens tickets to see the game at Heinz Field on Christmas Day.  I met Dawn at Starbucks to present her with her tickets… and to my surprise she had some small gifts for me as well.  Talk about grateful!  We spent about an hour together and it was indeed a charming and enlightening experience.  Dawn explained to me that she was especially grateful for this Christmas because she was finally going to have both of her sons with her at the same time… only to find out she won the tickets.  So what does a mother do…?  Ben and Carl are now going to the Steelers game while mom cheers them on from the comfort of her living room on Christmas day.


A mother myself… it brought tears to my eyes.  It’s what we do.  Thanks, Dawn, for a wonderful time and being such a great mom!  And thanks again to everyone for helping me help YOU achieve the dream of home ownership in Pittsburgh.  The pleasure is always mine.


Giving Back for the Holidays

Posted by Lauren Klein on December 13, 2016  /  in Awards, Holidays In Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Things To Do in Pittsburgh  /  Comments off

By now you’ve seen my post on my favorite holiday activities in Pittsburgh.  And by now I hope you’ve realized that I am so very grateful for all of the blessings in my life… my family, my friends, and my wonderful clients.

There are so many different ways to express my gratitude that I worry at times that I don’t do it enough.  You can only say “thank you” so many times.  You hope that everyone in your life realizes you really mean it… and for the most part, if you’re sincere, they do.

The tough part is coming up with different ways to say thank you… that people will remember.  Well… here’s another one…  how about giving tickets to the Steelers game versus the Ravens on Christmas Day?  Hmm… that sounds like a “real” thank you… doesn’t it?  But I’d have to give out hundreds of tickets… and… well… I don’t have hundreds of Steelers/Ravens tickets.

I only have two.


I can’t play favorites… that just wouldn’t be fair.  I can, however, have a contest!  So… here it goes… Win 2 tickets to see the Steelers play the Ravens on Christmas day this year!  All you have to do to enter  is “Like” my Facebook page, share this post and tag your date.

I’ll pick the winner on Monday, December 19th and deliver a big “Thank You” in the form of 2 tickets to the game at Heinz Field.

Happy Holidays… and THANK YOU to all my friends, family and real estate clients for an incredible year!


My Favorite Holiday Spots and Activities in Pittsburgh

Posted by Lauren Klein on December 10, 2016  /  in Blog, Dowtown Pittsburgh, Holidays In Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Things To Do in Pittsburgh  /  Comments off

There’s nothing I love more than seeing Pittsburgh get all dressed up for the holidays. If you don’t already feel a connection to the City of Steel, I think you may after you visit some of my favorite holiday spots. Grab your coat, your hat and your family, and head out for a wintry night (or day, or both!) on the town.

While there’s holiday fun all over the city (check out this great list of things to do in Pittsburgh over the Holidays ), my favorites are right downtown. There’s so much to see and do!

If you’ve got some shopping to take care of, you can find local, hand-made gifts at the Peoples Gas Holiday Market in Market Square. This is an awesome experience, and I’ve found many great gifts here over the years. Once you’ve checked off everyone on your list, you can visit the Big Guy himself for a photo op. (If you bring a donation to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, the photo is free!)


After you’ve seen everything at Market Square, there’s even more at PPG Place. If skating is your thing, find the perfect holiday skating experience at the MassMutual Ice Rink (click for information on hours, etc). It’s even bigger than the one at Rockefeller Center! Also at PPG Place is the Wintergarden, which features a display of Santas from around the world, as well as a gingerbread exhibit. Your kiddos are sure to love this!


If you’ve got energy left after all this (and I hope you do!), hop on the Holly Trolley or a horse-drawn carriage for a tour of all the spectacular holiday decorations and lights that downtown has to offer. This is my favorite part! Maybe take along a hot coffee or cocoa to keep you warm.


I love this beautiful time of year, and I hope the coming weeks bring you and yours much joy. If there’s anything I can help you with in your real estate journey, please get in touch!


*The feature photo at the top of this post is a painting by Linda Barnicott.  For more information on this piece and any of Linda’s work, click here.



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