Ways to Add Spooktacular Decor to Your Space this Halloween

We’re nearly there! There are less than 90 days left in 2019. Can you believe it? 

The end of the year is the most fun. After all, it’s time to decorate for the holidays. The start of Fall means all things pumpkin, sweater weather, and adorable decor. 

Plus, spooky season is right around the corner. We can’t end October without adding cauldrons and spider webs to our apartments. 

Here are a few ways to get into the Halloween spirit with your apartment decor! 

Add Some Spook to Your Space

One way to add a little spook to any room is by a flock of flying bats. All you need is black felt or construction paper and cut out various sized bats. See the tutorial and get a free bat template from Ella Claire & Co!

If using tape on your walls is against the lease, grab sticky tack at the local convenience store. You’ll be able to hang out the bats on the walls without the worry of marks or damage. 

Here’s a fun little tip! Most of Franklin West’s apartments have fireplaces, so placing those flying critters as if they were flying into your space from the chimney will definitely add spook. Be careful not to place anything flammable inside the fireplace!

Of course, it doesn’t have to be bats. You could do a witch, a black cat, or a few pumpkins. It’s all up to your spooktacular imagination!

Image from Ella Claire Inspired via the website

A New Take on a Pumpkin Tradition

Part of the fun with Halloween is carving out pumpkins. Whether you’re carving a terrifying ghoul or a comical face, carving a pumpkin is just tradition!

When you live in an apartment though carving pumpkins might get a little tricky. 

If you have a private deck or outside space you’re good to go. If not, get your hands on plenty of newspapers. But wait! There are a few alternatives to carving a messy pumpkin. One that won’t start to rot in a week. 

Create your own paper mache jack-o-lanterns! It’s a fun and a cleaner alternative to actual pumpkins. You can you the old, plastic grocery bags that you have lying around in your cabinet, grab some tape, and materials to get your paper mache on!

Check out this tutorial by CrookTribe to see how a paper mache pumpkin can come to life.

Image is a screengrab from CrookTribe’s original video from Youtube.

Where to go in Shadyside for Fabulous Halloween decor?

Not really a crafty person? We’ve got you covered. Here are five local shops where you may find some awesome Halloween decor – 

  1. PenHollows on South Highland Ave
  2. The Picket Fence on Walnut Street
  3. Kards Unlimited on Walnut Street
  4. Glassworks on Walnut Street
  5. Shadyside Variety Store on Walnut Street

Happy Halloween!🎃

Instagram Influencers with the Best Home Decor Inspiration

Whether you live in a 900 square-foot apartment or a two-story house, setting up a space to become your own is one of the most satisfying things in life. 

We get inspiration from friends, HGTV, or from that trip to the beach. But one of our favorite ways to get inspiration is checking out Instagram!

Let’s take a deeper look into some of our favorite Instagram influencers and how they decorate their unique space. 

Ashley || @MyBohemianHouse

My Bohemian House is all about, you guessed it, the bohemian style and the decor is awe-worthy! Over 160 Instagrammers flock to this page for inspiration.  

Check out Ashley’s Instagram for the best of Turkish rugs, greenery love, and awesome furniture.  

photo credit: My Bohemian House Instagram 

Designs By Ceres || The Pink Dream

The Pink Dream’s Instagram is as if Ceres plucked a colorful sunset right out of the sky and dropped it into a home. And no, we’re not exaggerating. 

The soft pink with hints of orange and purple against a white canvas creates breath-taking inspiration for any home or apartment owner. Click here to check up on Ceres’ blog and browse through the exact decor she has in her home.

photo credit: Designs by Ceres, The Pink Dream Instagram

Kate Arends || Wit and Delight

Kate Arends is the brilliant host behind Wit and Delight. She’s the founder of a “different kind of lifestyle brand,” telling real stories from the perspective of her raw experiences. 

We love her and her home decor style is ah-mazing. From artsy book nooks to gallery walls you’ll absolutely find inspiration here. 

Want to learn more about Kate’s story, click here!

Photo credit: Wit and Delight Instagram

Jen Jones || I Heart Organizing

Let’s face it, a messy room can make you want to just close the door and never look at it again. Out of sight out of mind, right? 

Unfortunately, real-life doesn’t work that way. Though getting organized does take a lot of effort, Jen Jones definitely has it down. 

Jen is the owner of the I heart Organizing Instagram page where she is all about DIY ways of cutting out clutter. And she is a genius! Check out her Instagram for tips on how to take advantage of your space.  

photo credit: I Heart Organizing Instagram

Aneth Parintosa || Putu Decor

We’re big fans of Aneth Parintosa and Putu Decor. One of the reasons is Aneth shares the journey of her interior design ventures with her Instagram followers. 

We will say Aneth is not afraid to play with colors! From a kitchen with bright yellow cabinets to a purple/blue kid’s bedroom. It’s very cool to see the before and after photos. 

photo credit: Putu Decor Instagram

Disi Fei || Champagne and Sequins

Did you know Disi Fei is the co-founder of Sprezza Box? Not only that, Disi’s Instagram will rock your home decor socks off! 

She shows her Instagram followers how she brings her style to life in her studio apartment space and we’re jealous because it’s gorgeous. Check out Champagne and Sequins for wonderful apartment decor inspiration.

Photo credit: Champagne and Sequins Instagram

Michael Wurm Jr. || Inspired by Charm

This Pittsburgh native is inspiring us with charm, literally. Michael Wurm Jr. has a fabulous Instagram page called Inspired by Charm. 

His goal is to help you create a happy place. Michael is all about Fall in his recent posts and it has us swooning. 

Check out the Inspired by Charm blog for all things home!

photo credit: Inspired by Charm Instagram

Maryah Greene || Greene Piece

Last, but absolutely not least Maryah Greene is the owner behind the Instagram page Greene Piece. Maryah believes everyone is entitled to an affordable, functional green space. 

This page is fun and full of green! If you are thinking about adding a little green to your apartment this is the Instagram page to follow. She even offers free plant care advice.

Want to learn more about Maryah’s story, click here.

photo credit: Greene Piece Instagram

That’s a wrap on some of our favorite Instagram influencers. We hope you were able to take away some awesome home or apartment decor inspiration!

5 Ways to Stop the Sneezing Torture of Allergy Season

It’s starting to get warmer out and trees are beginning to turn green again. Unfortunately, this also means it’s peak allergy season. Let the days of non-stop sneezing, watery eyes, and itchy throat begin!

We’ve all experienced that first sign of allergy season. You open your front door to a noticeable layer of pollen on everything from your car to porch chairs. It’s enough to make us sneeze for days.

We might not be able to completely get rid of allergies, but we can slow them down. Here are tips from reputable sources that can help you reduce allergens at home.

1. Vacuum Every 4 Days

WebMD suggests vacuuming once or twice every week. Obviously, it’s good practice to frequently vacuum your carpeting so that dust and pollen don’t linger in your home. But, using the right vacuum filter can actually make a world of difference.

Make sure your vacuum is equipped with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter! These filters are built with fine mesh trapping harmful particles like pollen, pet dander, dust mites, and tobacco smoke.

You can find HEPA filters in home improvement stores like Walmart, Lowes, or Home Depot as well as online.

2. Allergy Proof Your Bedroom

Whether it’s taking a snooze or binging your favorite show, you spend a ton of time in your bedroom. Nothing is more miserable than getting cozy in bed and having to get up again because your nose is running. How frustrating is that!

Everyday Health recommends you wash your bed sheets and pillow cases at least once a week. The key is to wash in hot water and hot dry.

Now, you may be tempted to save energy by letting those sheets dry outside, but that’s only going to make things worse. Pollen and dander will stick to those sheets and your effort of washing them will go out the window.

3. Keep Your Shoes at the Door

There’s a reason parents always said to take your shoes off at the door. When you’re out and going about your day, you essentially become a walking chauffeur for pollen, dirt, and other irritants.

This Old House says always keep a doormat on the inside of your door as well as making sure shoes remain there can help reduce the potential for irritants to be tracked throughout your home.

After a day spent outdoors, the best thing you can do is wipe your shoes on a mat before entering your home, immediately take off your shoes, change your clothing and make sure those outdoor clothes go straight to the laundry room or hamper.

4. Mold Free Bathrooms are the Happiest

Seeing mold begin to form in a bathroom is one sure sign you need to get cleaning. Mold forms from built-up humidity left by showering. This is why it’s so important to keep your ventilation fan on during and after showering.

To keep mold from forming, wipe down your tub, sink, and around your toilet at least once a week. Don’t forget about under your sink, too! Usually what’s under your sink collects a ton of dust because it’s not a place we interact with.

Health.com also recommends you ditch the vinyl shower curtains because they’re known to emit lung-irritating compounds. Your best bet is using nylon curtains that can be washed when needed.

5. To the Windows

We get it. It’s summertime and there’s just something right about keeping the windows open. We aren’t saying you’re forbidden from opening the windows, but there are times where you really should have them closed.

Have you ever kept the windows open during the night only to wake up with a stuffy nose? Oh, the dreaded allergy-filled morning! This happens because pollen counts are at their highest in the mornings and during night time.

We all know how dirty windows can get. There’s a layer of pollen on the outer side. There’s dust built up around the edges, and oh my goodness, is that a dead fly?

The one and probably most helpful thing you can do is regularly wipe down your windows, and at Franklin West apartments, we’ll take care of the outer side of the windows.

You can also make sure the curtains you use are machine washable. If you don’t have curtains, use microfiber cleaning cloths or disposable dust wipes when you’re dusting off the blinds.

5 Tip Round-Up

  1. Vacuum twice a week using a HEPA filter for maximum cleaning
  2. Wash your bedding once a week with hot water and machine dry
  3. Avoid tracking dirt and pollen through your home by removing your shoes at the door
  4. Keep mold and mildew from growing in your bathroom by running your ventilation system during and after showering.
  5. Make sure your windows stay closed during the night and mornings.  

How to Avoid Destruction with Your Apartment Plumbing

Let’s talk about your toilet. Yes, you read that right. We said toilet.

More specifically, we’re covering what should and shouldn’t be going down the grand porcelain throne, a kitchen sink, or garbage disposal. Every now and again, one bad egg clogs the plumbing system causing the whole building to suffer.

Good plumbing practices mean a building full of happy tenants and that’s what Franklin West strives for.

Here is a list of items you need to think twice about putting through your building’s plumbing.

Garbage Disposal Don’ts

To keep your garbage disposal working efficiently, one good rule of thumb is to avoid shoving large quantities of things down it. The following items should never go down a garbage disposal:

  1. Coffee Grounds
  2. Pasta, Rice, Oatmeal, or other foods that expand
  3. Bones
  4. Nuts/Pits
  5. Onion Skins
  6. Egg Shells
  7. Pumpkin, Celery, or other Fibrous Vegetables
  8. Potato Peels
  9. Chemicals/Paint
  10. Corn Husks
  11. Trash

This list came from The Family Handyman, which you can read in greater detail on why these items can become a big problem.

If your kitchen sink doesn’t have a garbage disposal, you should not put anything down the drain. Please use a kitchen sink strainer basket to ensure that nothing other than water and dish cleaning soap goes through the drain.

Lavatory Don’ts

The following items should never be flushed down the commode:

  1. Baby Wipes (even those marketed as being flushable)
  2. Q-tips & Cotton Swabs
  3. Menstrual Products
  4. Condoms
  5. Diapers
  6. Dental Floss
  7. Paper Towels & Tissues
  8. Medication
  9. Cigarette Buds
  10. Kitty Litter
  11. Hair
  12. Gum
  13. Cooking Grease
  14. Fish
  15. Food
  16. Bleach

In short, only toilet paper should be flushed down the toilet. Read more about why these items are not good for bathroom plumbing from House Beautiful.

Spot the Problem… Before It’s a Really BIG Problem

How do you know if one drain versus your entire plumbing system is backed up?

Even if everyone in our apartments follows our guidance above, external situations out of our control can cause a sewage system to back up. So, what are the warning signs?  One sign of a sewer drain clog is when more than one plumbing fixture backs up at the same time. You may even experience unusual sounds coming from the fixtures in your apartment.

With plumbing problems, whether it be a slow drain, a clog or a potential sewage backup, please CALL our office at 412-661-1151 as soon as you notice a problem, no matter what time of day or night!