What’s up, WNY? Guy bird here- showing you where I like to take a [workout’] beatin’ these days. If you live or venture out to the Southtowns and enjoy pushing your body to the limits,… More
Or, at least, it was supposed to be.
Babies typically never arrive on their guesstimated date but we were so hoping that Baby Lovebird would make a grand entrance today. C’mon, weekend! We are banking now on her arrival over the next couple of days. Big Daddy Beau can barely contain himself and I am now simply tapped out. Ladies, you weren’t kidding when you said the last month is the hardest! Whew. And having three girlfriends, who were ‘due’ after Baby Lovebird, already have their babies this past week- makes me even more antsy and flustered.
But having the extra time at home this week gave us the chance to put more touches on the little tyke’s future room, giving us some relief and sense of nesting. There are still a couple more things we want to add in but we thought we would share what we have now!
Early on last summer, we knew we wanted to do a monochromatic room with greys, whites, and black. Babies see blacks and whites in their early weeks and months of coming in to the world and it helps stimulate them visually. We thought that was a neat fact! It helps that current nursery trends are modern and classic so we went for it. The style fits ‘us’ as well- we like to be up on what’s ‘in’.
I always had a vision for what the room would look like, so you can imagine the excitement a 40 week pregnant lady would feel when it all starts coming together!
Here is the scoop on what we placed in her room:
Wait…a Wu Tang poster? Yes- you are seeing that! We had this in our bedroom at the Hotel Lafayette after picking it up at an Elmwood Art Festival a few years ago. Thanks, WNY Book Arts! They designed this when the clan performed at Town Ballroom in Buffalo. Beau is a massive old-school hip-hop fan and as for me, being a musician and who teaches Ethnomusicology, this design totally makes sense. We wanted pops of color in her room and Wu Tang brought it. #CoolBaby
How fun are the clothing dividers we found on Etsy?? They’re printable and can be found here. Now to find cool hangers!
Not sure if anything makes us more giddy than a new joint opening up in Buffalo. Especially when it’s in the same street block as where we got married! Larkinville added another awesome and super cute hotspot: Swan Street Diner.
We got a sneak peek of the diner this past Friday and it is ADORBS. It’s a 1937 Sterling diner car that has been restored to its beauty by the Larkin Development Group. We were greeted by Larkinville royal Leslie Zemsky upon arrival for lunch last Friday and were seated within seconds. Here we go!
The diner is impressive and historical, transporting you back in time with the beautiful mahogany wood and pie counter. The menu is filled with breakfast and lunch items and it even has ‘diner lingo’ to teach you how to order like they did back in the day: white cow = milkshake…motor oil = maple syrup. Props to the diner’s head chef, Amanda Amico. She is the owner behind Amy’s Food Truck, too.
We ordered the Pumpkin Waffles, Flapjacks, crisp bacon, and Breakfast Tacos #2.
We caffeinated up with coffee, which they get from Undergrounds– a cafe on S. Park Ave. we like to stop in at. A plan to return was already being discussed before we even finished our food. The details are what makes the diner come together and also why we have so much respect for Leslie, who is the Director of Fun at Larkinville. Her attention to detail and the amount of research to get something just right is remarkable. Her son Harry is also a mastermind behind the diner. A great example is the wallpaper beyond the main diner room: it is custom-designed and if you stop to look you will notice they are painted diner plates. Some were even designed by Leslie herself. The actual diner plates we ate off of? They’re from the former Buffalo China factory which was housed locally here in WNY. Seriously, we can’t make up stuff this cool.
The diner opens officially to the public on Tuesday, October 10th and will be open 7am-3pm every day of the week. We’re already planning to come back this month and try more items on the menu and bring little Chloe, too. Bravo, Swan Street Diner- expect us to pop in and grab an order of Cluck and Grunt with a side of Jayne Mansfield’s and Motor Oil.
- Swan Street Diner // 700 Swan St. Buffalo 14210 (next to Harry Zemsky’s Hydraulic Hearth)
- Street and lot parking
- All week 7am-3pm
- Breakfast and Lunch
- Perfect for solo, couples, small families, kid-friendly, diner breakfast
On Tuesday, October 3rd we teamed up with Explore & More Children’s Museum for the first ever citywide Scavenger Hunt- for adults! It was a day of play and involved racing around the city to become the ultimate champion of Buffalo.
The rundown: the hunt included trivia questions and in-person tasks around Buffalo and you only had 90 minutes to get as many points as you could. We gathered our adventure besties, Brian and Stephanie, to hop in the car with us and help our team race to the finish line. We downloaded the app (Eventzee) which is designed for hunts like this and at 6:30pm the clues began flashing on the screen- time to go! With our map packet from Explore & More, we devised a plan to start north of the city and work our way down toward the heart of Buffalo.
We were racing to and fro, nailing challenges as they came- like take a selfie with Abe Lincoln behind the History museum…eat a cupcake from ‘Cookie‘ on the West Side…find the Underground Railroad plaque outside the Michigan St. Baptist Chuch…win a shuffleboard game up inside The Revs on Franklin. In between tasks, Stephanie and I answered loads of Buffalo trivia questions to gather more points. We nailed it and answered all of them within an hour.
The sun was setting and we were neck and neck for the number one spot. We raced to gather more tasks and beat the clock before 8pm hit. At 7:59pm on the dot, another final task was carried out- snap a pic of the Hotel Lafayette wooden murals in the lobby. Sweaty, giggly, and proud of our efforts we headed back to 500 Seneca where the after-party happened.
Explore & More fed us and filled the atrium with a DJ spinning music and prizes for the winners. We ended up in second place and felt good about not only kicking butt in the game but first and foremost supporting the Children’s Museum. The efforts of the Scavenger Hunt is going toward the new museum which is being built now at Canalside. We are so happy to see this expanding and becoming accessible to more people- including surrounding city neighborhoods. More vibrant life is coming to the water! With a bigger space and more programming, our kids will have the opportunity to explore, learn, and grow.
We can’t wait to see another Scavenger Hunt happen- it was too fun and it all went toward the perfect family cause! Congrats Explore & More on a great family fun night and we cannot wait to cheer you on as you grow!
- High fives from CEO Douglas Love
- Sniffing candy bar diapers at EduKids
- Beau accidentally starting to drive away before Lindsay was fully inside car (she’s fine!!)
- Having everyone around Buffalo looking super confused and being very intrigued as to why hundreds of people were running all over the place taking selfies (it’s for the museum, duh!)
- Being out of breath after racing from task to task- literally!
- Trying to fit everyone’s face in a selfie screen
Check out Explore & More’s Facebook for more pics and to follow along for events, programming, and details!
There is an ADULT SCAVENGER HUNT happening in downtown Buffalo on October 3rd. It’s Explore & More’s Incredible Hunt: A Grownup Day of Play!
Gather your friends and hop in a car to reveal clues and answer trivia about Buffalo as you race to the finish line! The party ends at 500 Seneca with drinks, food, and some tunes. Everything benefits the NEW museum being built at Canalside and the programming that is going to be developed there. As we start our family, we keep looking at things and places we feel are good to the community for families and the future. The new Explore & More Children’s Museum is one of those places. It will have more for our kids, better access for WNY and downtown, and add to the surge of the waterfront. We cannot wait!
We are going to be there and we want you to be with the party, too! Register NOW!
There is some badass hidden talent that sprinkles Buffalo nowadays. We get a glimpse of it at festivals, craft fairs, and pop-up shops…but we also have some cool people blowing it up on Etsy and Instagram- cause let’s face it, Insta has become our new omg-I-gotta-get-what-that-blogger-posted place to scroll.
One such hidden gem in our city is Jill of All Trades– an online blog and shop filled with style inspo, fun graphic-wear, and unique gift boxes to send out to WNYers. We had to talk to Jill and get the scoop on her!
Hi, Jill! Tell us a little bit about you:
Name: Jill DiGioia – Jill of All Trades
Currently living in: Downtown Buffalo – Hi! I’m new here!
Day job: This is it! I am a T-shirt Maker, Gift Box Curator, Baker, New Blogger, and I also do some Social Media Management on the side!
Being new to the area, we have to ask- what is your favorite place in Buffalo?: Canalside! There is always something going on there. Concerts, movies, workouts, festivals, Artisan Markets, and my favorite- water activities!
How did you first begin Jill Of All Trades and when?: I have many passions in life which has lead me to be a “Jill of all trades”. I’ve always had trouble narrowing it down to focus on one main trade, so about two years ago I thought why can’t I do them all? This lead to the name and now the new blog!
Gift boxes- I have always enjoyed putting together thoughtful gifts and really going outside the box to find something different for every occasion. A couple years ago, I was a Concierge in Las Vegas and received many requests for unique, personalized gifts. So I began customizing gifts for the guests and now to everyone!
T-shirts- I am a big believer in spreading kindness and good vibes. Two years ago I tried to find a shirt to promote this and at the time there was not much out there. So my husband and I designed a “BE KIND” shirt and learned how to screen print to make our own. To this day, the “BE KIND” shirt is my biggest seller in the shop and I couldn’t be happier!
It looks like Florida is your original home- what brought you to Buffalo?: While living in Vegas, I met my husband who is from Buffalo. At the end of last year we both decided it was time to be near family and he received a great job opportunity here, so we made the move! This is my 1st time living anywhere with a “real” Winter, so please send any tips/tricks!
Your gift boxes are what caught my eye- how do you design one and what do you typically have in one?: I love customizing every box for each client and special occasion. I try to get as much information as I can about the recipient to really put some thought into each gift and make it aesthetically pleasing. I like to include fresh flowers, gourmets chocolates, special soaps (I’m a sucker for pretty packaging), candles, a t-shirt/tote bag, fun mugs & glassware and of course any special requests!
How can people get their hands on a gift box to send to someone?: You can order them here: jillofalltradesofficial.com/gift-boxes
Your t-shirts are fun, too! Do you make them or have a printer? Are custom orders available? Thank you! We design and screen print all of the shirts ourselves! I am happy to make custom orders too.
Who are some of your favorite local bloggers/shop owners in Buffalo?: stepoutbuffalo.com and buffalovebirds.com! Before moving here, I spent a lot of time on both sites reading about Buffalo and all it has to offer! Since moving, I still love to follow along on the adventures in and around buffalo. Also, I have recently found nickelcitypretty.com another awesome blogger who is fun to follow and has a great page showcasing many of the amazing murals and public artwork in Buffalo!
Your blog covers your clothing style- how would you describe your style and how do you hope to inspire your followers with it?: I would say my style is bright and cheerful! I am drawn to things that are colorful, feminine, fun, and in a perfect world- on sale! I love a flowy maxi dress & sandals but also like to glam it up in a cocktail dress & heels. My goal is to inspire followers to have more fun with fashion, try wearing new colors and even add a little sparkle!
Where do you see Jill Of All Trades going next/next steps for you?: I can’t wait to explore and meet more of Buffalo! I hope to keep spreading joy through my Gift Boxes, T-shirts and the Blog 🙂
We’re gonna say it– Jill of All Trades is where you will be getting your next gift. Her customizable gift box is what sold us: we had her create a box to send to someone who helped us with something big (*hint: Chloe) and it was a huge hit. Something different, something fun. That’s what Jill of All Trade is all about.
We’ve been getting a lot of questions about our wedding- where did you find your decor and ideas? What food did you have? How did you execute your whole Larkin Square vision? So we’re gonna start sharing our details from our big day in different posts so you can gather some ideas or just read for fun!
Next up: our Wedding Music Playlist.
There is nothing more exciting than seeing a packed dance floor filled with family & friends dancing their butts off non-stop at your wedding. As a serial wedding guest, I’ve noticed that this doesn’t happen too often. Typical wedding music changes over the decades- the fun has gone from the Chicken Dance to the Macarena to the Wobble. Some people like to keep things ‘traditional’…but us? Nope. We wanted people to be surprised, excited, and to dance their pants off. The first part of the night began with the Hot Club of Buffalo performing live on the Larkin stage. They played during our cocktail hour to set a fun vibe- once they ended, the playlist began.
Goal: to have our playlist to represent us- as children, young adults, and now old millennials. The stuff that made our memories. The stuff that evokes unforgettable stories. So instead of having a DJ, we did something a little different- I mixed a non-stop playlist filled with all of the music we loved and that meant something to us. (fun fact: I used to DJ when I lived in North Carolina- but that’s another type of blog!)
Step One: Choosing the Songs
I had an idea- let’s break it in to mini-playlists, complete with tracks to make you jump up and down and some slow jamz to give you all the feels. Each was a perfectly planned mix, segueing in to one another and each ending with a couple slower tunes to cool you down. We made a huge list of song that spanned decades and genres. We wanted our friends to feel like they were back at those middle and high school dances- ‘the best decade of music ever’. (hello, the 90s) Both Beau and I have a taste in music that is all over the map so it was easy to determine which songs HAD to stay. Plus we had songs in there that were specifically put in for people we loved. We did all of the deciding at a random Starbucks five months before the wedding.
Step Two: Setting the Mood
Music is in my blood. As a classically trained flutist, Ethnomusicologist, and instructor of World Music at Mercyhurst University- conjuring emotions with music is my number one goal. Naturally, this happened when I started organizing and outlining which songs. I also took in to consideration the BPM’s for each song and how we could mix them to flow in to one another. Each song had about 2-4 minutes of play time before it segued in to something different. We crossed decades and genres- and it was the bomb.
After mixing and remixing, the playlists were done and loaded on to an iPod. Sound check at Larkin? Done. Volume up loud? Done. Dance floor packed? Done. We will never forget seeing everyone get so excited over Biggie, Benny Benassi, and the Dirty Dancing theme. You would never believe how many people were doing ‘the lift’.
Here are the sets and the music we had. Don’t ya wish you were there?! :
Having our playlist represent us as individuals growing up in the 90s and 00s, it also resonated with our guests. We snuck in a few songs that were just for ‘us’ (Pink Martini for my Dad & I…Bob Seger for Beau’s Mom…Bingo Players for Beau…Balkan Beat Box for me…Billie Holiday tune from ‘The Notebook’ cause romance…etc..) and sometimes it gave people a break to get another prosecco or taco at Lloyd. Our best advice is to create your own list of songs- and take it seriously. If you really want to have your party music to top off the night in a big way, make it your own. You’ll have more fun and your guests will never forget it.
We love chocolate. Lots of it. So when we were invited to go hang out at Platter’s and experience their place, there really was no question on if we should go or not.
We noticed Platter’s Chocolates new digs up on Niagara Falls Boulevard in November of 2016 when they opened their new shop. Located in the old Wurlitzer building, they’re more than just a spot to grab some candy- it’s become a full-on destination filled with a modern industrial design and cozy hangout areas for anyone to chill at. Platter’s started with a husband and wife team in 1938 who created their chocolate in their home. After retiring in the late 60’s, a former neighborhood kid bought it in 1972 and kept the tradition while growing at the same time. The family continues on with making it bigger and better!
Saturday afternoon we headed up to North Tonawanda with BabyLovebird Chloe in tow, expecting to peruse shelves full of chocolate. But hold the phone- this place is WAY more than we thought it would be. We were greeted by bright and bubbly Nicole, one of the managers and also part of the owner’s family. Their new location has coffee, lattes, teas, Perry’s ice cream, sundaes, candy, sponge, smoothies, chocolate…it’s a complete surprise when you walk in!
The space is huge and has nook areas with seating, fireplaces, tv’s, and large windows that look in to their candy and chocolate factory. (of course there are still shelves filled with chocolates and gifts to grab) We both opted for coffee- one iced with Toasted Marshmallow and another hot with orange chocolate- and Beau HAD to get the orange sponge sundae.
Poor Chloe!! Sorry, baby, you can’t have any yet!The place was bustling; filled with kids and families…a mom and her two college-aged daughters…an older gentleman sitting and reading the paper with his coffee…it’s a new generation of chocolate shops.
While there is no sponge production to watch right now (since it’s humid in the summer!), the machines and operations were all quiet. But come fall, the place will be making and baking like crazy. You will be quite surprised how large their 24,000 square-foot space is and the various types of machinery they use (some even from Germany!).
Now you can’t pass by Platter’s- you have to go see for yourself! (psstt! It’s only minutes away from the Boulevard Mall) It is too charming not to go again and again and again. We are looking forward to visiting soon to watch the Platter’s and the Chocolate Factory work their magic come sponge season!
- Platter’s Chocolates / The Wurlitzer Building, 908 Niagara Falls Blvd. / North Tonawanda, NY 14120
- M-F 7am-10pm…Saturday 8am-10pm…Sunday 10am-10pm (they’re open late!!)
- grab chocolate gifts, watch them making sweet treats
- perfect for family, kids, solo, casual first date, dessert, coffee date
- Platter’s Chocolates Facebook