DAY 4 | NYC

Day four was our last and final day of vacation. It can also be said that day four was the main reason why we were even here in the first place – for the NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic. It was decided some months ago that this trip to NYC for the Winter Classic would be a Christmas gift for me and my brother. He came up with the idea and I totally agreed, as neither of us need anything so, why not? So, thanks to having season tickets for the Buffalo Sabres we were able to snag some seats and, a few months later, we were on our merry way.

That morning, we woke up, packed our things into our suitcases, loaded up the car, bundled up and set out for Citi Field. Now, when I tell you bundled up, I do not mean we zipped up our coats and put on a hat and a scarf. I mean, we put on our three pairs of pants, six shirts, four pairs of socks, two pairs of gloves, a scarf, a hat, our snow pants, and our winter coat, and hoped that these intense layers would be enough to keep us warm for the 3+ hours we were going to be outside. While we escaped well-beyond-freezing temperatures, it just so happened that the day of the game, the wind chill was going to be, again, well-beyond-freezing. About -6 degrees below zero to be exact. Was the sun out? Yes. Was the wind whipping faster than a speeding bullet? Hell yes. And this, this made a recipe for a freezing, but good, time.

I was at the very first Winter Classic in Buffalo ten years ago, so being at the 10th anniversary game and seeing the Sabres play again was pretty amazing. Seeing how much this event has improved in ten years was incredible to see in person. It was truly a whole new experience from the first time! And, added Buffalo bonus, we got a mini-concert at the first intermission thanks to our hometown band, the Goo Goo Dolls.

While this was the Sabres’ “home game,” the venue was filled with about 80% New York Rangers fans. No surprise since, you know, we were on Long Island. If you follow the NHL, you know that the Buffalo Sabres are not doing so hot this year [and if you don’t follow, well now you know]. Sounds familiar, right? So it wouldn’t seem so shocking to you that they did not win this game against the Rangers. In fact, they lost the game in extra time, just like the Winter Classic ten years ago against Pittsburgh. Overall, though, it was an exciting game and a memory that I will cherish with me forever.

Due to having a flight home to catch, mixed a little bit with the cold weather, we left with about 8 minutes remaining in the game to beat the crowd and avoid any traffic to JFK Airport from Citi Field. After turning in our rental car, getting through security, and grabbing a bite to eat, my long weekend came to an end around 9:00 in the evening when our flight home landed in Buffalo.

There is not one thing that I would change about my most recent trip to New York. And, I already can’t wait to go back! xoxo.

 

First snow!

Good morning, lovelies.

Today is the day I have been looking forward to all week – a day off! Learning of the weather we would be experiencing today, I have been so excited to do absolutely nothing but curl into a blanket on the couch with a hot cup of coffee, catch up on some shows, do some homework, you know the deal. I have been exponentially cold all week, so the information of having morning temperatures be around 7 degrees just was not tickling my fancy today [and I am so thankful I am not out in it having to get kids off the bus!].

So, naturally, it was not too much to my surprise that I woke up to snow this morning! Yes, you read that right.. Buffalo’s first snowfall of the season. Surprisingly enough, I am not the biggest fan of snow, something so unnatural for where I live. However, I must say that looking up from this post out my window, seeing that light snow falling from the sky, it does look pretty.

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While it is not a lot of snow, and it is kind-of-not-really sticking to the ground, it’s enough to constitute it as our first snow. So, to everyone off observing Veteran’s Day, I hope today finds you extra cozy and full of [early] holiday cheer. xoxo.

P.S. – Yes, I am wearing Crocs. Don’t shame me!

 

Whole Foods | Welcome to the 716!


On Friday, September 15, 2017, Buffalo got their very first Whole Foods Market.

Happy one week anniversary!

I was only at a Whole Foods once in my entire life. It was in Cleveland and I had been talking about it ever since I went. Once I heard the news that a Whole Foods would be coming to my hometown, I spent every day from the press release three years ago to the grand opening so excited for this exact moment, and it did not disappoint.

Within the four walls of the Buffalo storefront, you can find a multitude of unique and amazing things:

  • Bar 1818 – called so as an ode to the year Amherst was founded, you can find anything from milkshakes that can be upgraded with a shot of alcohol, a pool table, and a killer menu with locally themed items such as Ru’s potato pierogi, a burger on weck, and a vast rotation of local brews.
  • More than 30 local brands to shop through, including Anchor Bar wing sauce, Lloyd Taco Factory rocket sauce, and Weber’s horseradish mustard, to name a few.
  • A bocce court in the front of the store, complete with balls straight from Italy.
  • A spatious produce area filled with perfectly stacked fruits and veggies with a neighboring bulk food station filled with pasta, granola, nuts, and trail mix.
  • A glass alcove cutting room where you are able to watch the butchers carve meats, all within a large display area for seafood and other various forms of meat that is scaled and rated from “no cages, no crates, no crowding” to “animal centered, entire life on the same farm.”
  • A bakery stocked with the most scrumptious variety of freshly baked goods with a neighboring prepared food section big enough and offering a large enough selection to eat something different every single day for at least a week.
  • A coffee and juice bar featuring endless varieties of coffee, espresso, and tea drinks.

The store has a very rustic, yet somewhat modern, feel to it. It is bright, welcoming, and perfectly stocked, especially for the large crowd that was there on opening day. I was impressed with everything from the atmosphere to the food I’d eaten in Bar 1818.


I cannot wait to go back once the “hype” dies down and I will be able to look through all of the products on a closer level, as the amount of people in the store prevented me from appreciating it as it should be.

Where: Whole Foods. 3139 Sheridan Drive, Amherst, New York, 14226.

What to try: Bar 1818 – Sweet Heat burger. A fresh burger patty topped with avocado, pineapple jalapeno relish, pepper jack , and cilantro. Absolutely to die for!

BuffaLOVE.

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It is no secret that I love being from Buffalo. Actually, I think that’s one thing all Buffalonians have in common, we all are die hard lovers of our city. I mean, come on, our city does smell like Cheerios! So, today, on Buffalo Day (7/16), I will honor the City of Good Neighbors.

The most iconic part of Buffalo, to me at least, is the over-abundance of amazing food. It might seem like I am lying when I say that every corner you turn brings you face to face with a great spot to eat, but I am not. Whether your stomping grounds are North Buffalo, South Buffalo, or right in the heart of the city, you’re sure to never go hungry. Wings from the Anchor Bar, beef on weck from Charlie the Butcher’s, hot dogs from Ted’s, subs from Jim’s Steakout, donuts from Paula’s, sponge candy from Watson’s, beer from Resurgence Brewery, loganberry…the list goes on, and on, and on.

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And if restaurants are not enough, holy cow, do we have a ridiculous amount of festivals. Taste of Buffalo, the Italian Festival, Allentown Art Festival, the Music is Art Festival, so on and so forth. These events make Buffalo not only diverse, but fun. [In true Buffalo fashion, I was at the Italian Festival just today!].

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Another highlight of Buffalo is one that people don’t always think of, the architecture. The Darwin Martin House, City Hall, the Prudential Building, the Central Terminal, the Ellicott Square Building, and Hotel Lafayette surely don’t make this city a sight for sore eyes!

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New to one of my top favorites of the city is Canalside. Every single time I go down to the waterfront, I am still amazed at how far this area of Buffalo has come over the last few years. Between HarborCenter, kayak rentals, an outdoor ice skating rink, outdoor concerts, free movie nights, there is always something to do. And, it’s family friendly! On the topic of family friendly, Buffalo is also home to a cute little zoo right in the heart of North Buffalo.

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“Buffalo, the sports town with a drinking problem.” It’s also really no secret of my die hard love for all things Buffalo sports. I have been a season ticket holder for the Buffalo Sabres for my entire life. Most of my favorite childhood [and adult] memories revolve around this team. If hockey really isn’t your forte, we have the Buffalo Bills or the Buffalo Bisons to help float your boat. And to address the elephant that I know is in the room, yes, yes, our sports teams are not the best. However, I’ll be damned if Buffalo sports fans give up on the hope that this year will be our year. We have some of the best fans in the league – we’re crazy, we love to party, and we’re over the top loyal. It’s hard to explain how we keep coming back each year unless you’re from Buffalo, but it’s something we just do. [It helps that our bars are open until 4am!]

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So, there you have it. Some of my favorite things about my city. I really could have this list go on and on, but if you’re not from this area, I don’t want to bore you. If you are from the good ol’ 716, I shouldn’t have to add on. You just know, there’s more to Buffalo than 15 feet of snow. xoxo.

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Weekend vibes. 

This weekend, I got to play tourist in my own neck of the woods. The first weekend of 80+ degree weather made me more than ready to get out of the house for some adventures outdoors.

Saturday brought about a trip to the Buffalo Zoo. My boyfriend lives close enough to walk there, so we took advantage. As noted before, I love going to the zoo. Seeing animals brings me an overwhelming sense of happiness, so I was more than thrilled to walk around and look at all my fluffy friends.

After walking around the zoo (and reaching my steps for the day), we were starving. Living in North Buffalo, there is not a shortage of places to eat – it always ends up a never-ending debate in your mind as to which restaurant you should choose this time. We settled for Deep South Taco.

I had never been to this restaurant before, but have always wanted to go since I drive by it multiple times a week. It sits right in the heart of North Buffalo on the corner of Hertel and Starin. The atmosphere is bright, colorful, and welcoming, and the menu is so large that I could not decide on what to eat.

We started off with a couple drinks and chips and salsa. I decided on the 2AM margarita – a blood orange, peach and raspberry concoction that tasted nothing short of summer!

As for dinner, I selected three tacos. Two of which the Pollo Verde, which consisted of green chili braised chicken, queso fresco, onion and cilantro. The other taco I chose was the Papas Con Rajas, which consisted of potato, rajas chipotle, cotija cheese, onion, and cilantro. Both choices amaaaaaazing!

We followed this meal up with a trip to the new Lake Effect Ice Cream location on Hertel. I had previously been to the Lockport location, but my boyfriend was a first timer. I opted for the Extra Cookies, Extra Cream while he chose Omanhene Chocolate. If you have not been, go. Or pick some up at your local Wegmans. Totally worth it, no matter what flavor you pick!

I finished up my “tourist weekend” today at the Maid of the Mist in Niagara Falls, USA. My brother is currently employed there, so my family decided to take a trip and cool off on this super-warm day (especially since our pool isn’t open yet) and visit him at work! I hadn’t gone on the boat in years, so it was great to re-experience this again! You get so extremely close to Niagara Falls that you leave soaking wet, almost as if you’ve taken a dive into a pool! The ticket ($18.75) gets you access to the boat ride which gets you up close to the American and Canadian Falls’, the observation deck, as well as a walkway alongside the American Falls. You get right into the heart of the Canadian “horseshoe” Falls that it is nearly impossible to take pictures – it something you have to experience in the moment. I definitely plan on doing this again this summer, as my boyfriend has never experienced it before, and it’s something I feel like everyone should do at least once!

All in all, this weekend left me full and tired. What did you do this weekend!? xoxo.

Buffalo architecture: 101.

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This past Sunday [aka Easter Sunday] my family and I had gone to brunch in Lackawanna. The restaurant we had gone to just so happened to be on the same street as Our Lady of Victory National Shrine and Basilica. I had never been before, and my grandparents had always wanted to go check it out, so we did. Hey, Easter Sunday seems like the perfect day to go to church anyways, right?!

I had always heard it was breathtaking, but I never expected what I experienced that afternoon. If you have never been / have always wanted to go, go. Heck, you don’t even have to be religious to appreciate the beauty that is this basilica.

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Its’ groundbreaking occurred in 1921 and was finished in 1926. The architecture is amazing, and it also serves as the final resting place for Father Baker. Thanks to be getting overly-excited / snap happy, I was able to still get some of the pictures I took after destroying my phone, as I sent them to my boyfriend. Pictures do not do this landmark justice. At all. You really, really need to see it in person.

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It is located at 767 Ridge Rd, Buffalo, NY 14218. [Honestly, as long as you get to the street, you don’t even need the number – you cannot miss it].

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It is easy to get to. You have no excuse. xoxo.

 

Life of a dyngus. 


Yesterday was my final day of spring break and I celebrated it by going to the Dyngus Day parade/party with a bunch of my friends. It was a blast and I’m already looking forward next year.

For those of you who don’t know about Dyngus Day – it always falls on the Monday after Easter. This post-Lenten celebration party is full of Polish pride. Much like St. Paddy’s Day, but to an entirely new level. Buffalo goes crazy for this, so shoutout to my hometown.

I’d never been in Central Terminal before yesterday, but now I know why people are so adamant about its’ restoration for the city of Buffalo. It is beautiful!

I would have taken pics but stupid, stupid me dropped my phone. Straight. In. The. Toilet. You can’t make this up, you really can’t. So as a result, I am now part of the iPhone 7 fam as of two hours ago. Prepare for an influx of pictures as a result of a much more impressive camera. xoxo.

Where the wild things are.

Today, I finally welcomed spring into my life. After a 70+ degree day yesterday, I was ready to venture out on one of these days off and enjoy the weather. I decided to have a little family day, and after pondering what we could do in this new-found glorious weather, we came up with family day at the Buffalo Zoo. My mom had taken today off from work, and my brother was already off for spring break, so today seemed like the perfect day!

The Buffalo Zoo is located right in the heart of North Buffalo. Within the last couple years, the zoo has gone through some major renovations that I had yet to see, so I was super stoked to finally go. It was nice enough outside to park for free in Delaware Park and walk to the main entrance, so that is exactly what we did. Zoo admission costs $12, and for the little more than two-ish hours that I spent there today, I would say it is totally worth it.

I [finally] got to see the new Arctic Edge exhibit for the polar bears, followed by a lion roaring, a giraffe drinking his own urine, a sea lion play with a spoon, and a rhino pass gas. Most of these things seem gross, but when you are with your brother who is 17 years old, all of this is hilarious, thus making me laugh, and making for a good day.

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My favorite part has been the Rainforest exhibit, ever since it has opened its doors. To me, it is so unique and there is always so much to look at.

The last time my brother was at the zoo was for his 8th grade end of the year field trip [he is now a senior in high school, to put that in perspective for you], and my mom hadn’t been there since we were both really little, so overall everyone was really pleased with how much the zoo has improved over the years.

Overall, my recommendation of the zoo is 10/10. If you ever come across a nice day where you don’t know what to do, pack yourself up and head to the zoo. There’s always something new to see. xoxo.

Stella, day two.

I sit here in the midst of snow day number two, staring at the clock wondering how it is only 3:21pm. I feel as though it is way past dinnertime, and I am ready for this whole ‘stuck in the house with barely any food and nothing to do’ thing to be over with. My poor little car is so buried deep in the snow, that I am second guessing ever choosing a Honda Civic over some type of Jeep. *facepalm* Plus, I look out the front window and wonder where the front porch went and if I ever really had one in the first place??

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One thing good that I can say came from this winter storm is that basically all people of social media have retracted from their strong political beliefs, and have stayed focused on nothing but the endless piles of snow outside. *whew*

On an even brighter note, I [being extremely, extremely behind] finally started the Gilmore Girls revival series. I was waiting for my mom to finish up the original series on Netflix so we could watch the revival together and, so far, we have gotten through two out of the four episodes. Stay tuned for my overall reaction of the revival series once I’ve completed it, because I already have a feeling I will have a lot to say.

Other than that, I have nothing creative in my mind to write about today, as I have been doing nothing but work on my 80 page [not even exaggerating] research paper/project. So, I feel somewhat creatively and mentally drained. Until tomorrow. xoxo.

 

 

Walkin’ in a winter wonderland?!

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So, unless you have been living under a rock, you probably have heard about this gnarly snow storm about to hit the Northeastern U.S. Well, of course, this is where I live. And, of course, of course, I am not happy about it.

Living in Western New York, I should be happy that this is the first major warning we’ve gotten this year. It took until now for this 12′-18′ winter storm warning crap to hit us when, usually, we’re about a handful of winter storms into the season by mid-March. But, I am spoiled. So, again, I am not happy.

I ran to Wegmans today to grab a couple things and people were stocking up on groceries like the zombie apocalypse was ahead of us. It always makes me laugh because people always prepare for terrible weather around here and it ends up being completely blown out of proportion and we get 0.00008 inches of snow or rain or etc.

Tomorrow I have an 11 hour work day ahead of me, so I will be inside for the majority of this alleged storm. But, I would much rather be in my bed wrapped in a blanket, watching Netflix. [HOWEVER, perks of my new job: I could have a snow day!].

Hopefully all these weathermen and women are wrong and it will be 65 and sunny tomorrow. Cross your fingers. xoxo.