Staycation: Rooftop Fireworks

Rooftop fireworks. Martinis. 24/7 kitchen. Modern. Views.

There’s a new staycation in town and it may not be where you would first think of one. It’s the Hyatt Place in Niagara Falls, NY and it’s perfectly located within steps of the Seneca Casino, Old Falls St., and the Canadian border.

We packed up for an overnight stay, dropped Chloe off with the grandparents, and rushed on up to the new Hyatt. Already impressed with its location, we were surprised again once we stepped inside and noticed the modern décor: large sphere lights, wood panel walls, a hand-drawn map of downtown Niagara Falls, and wood with metal detail tables that made us wonder if we could sneak one in to the car and take it home.

Greeted by smiling people, we found our room filled with a charcuterie board, fruits, chocolate-covered strawberries, and Prosecco. (Ooo, who are we right now?!) Our room overlooked the mist of the Falls and peered in to Canada. It made us reminisce of our old Clifton Hill days (amiright?!). We spent time at the bar downstairs, noshing on tacos, sliders, and cheesecake while having a breather to finally just be together again. That’s the point of a staycation for two, after all.

Every Saturday they have live music up on their rooftop that overlooks Niagara Falls State Park. Being a little rainy, it was moved to the lower level where people gathered to just chill and enjoy the music. 90s tunes while we had some drinks? Living our best live in our thirties. At 9:45pm, we went up to the rooftop to get cozy for the fireworks. Each Friday and Saturday night, fireworks roar over the Falls and the Hyatt rooftop is the perfect location to watch! The fire lit up the sky and with the city lights as the backdrop and a wave of new appreciation for this part of WNY rushed over us. Low-key, modern, fun…this was everything the Hyatt was bringing to this night.

We took advantage of the location and stopped by the Casino where we ran in to people we knew, had some drinks, danced in the aisles, downed some coffee, and basically broke even on what we spent at Blackjack. Beau is decent at it and I am like a little old lady hitting up the old-school penny slots. Heading back to the Hyatt, we were once again greeted by smiling faces who asked if we were hungry and if there was anything they could get us. Heck ya! A quesadilla and flatbread were ready in under 20 minutes and we relaxed back in our room, this time enjoying the lights across the way.

There we were, 1:30am and way past our bedtime. Parents night out. Oh, it’s a real thing and we thought our friends made it up. Nope. Somewhere between Planet of the Apes, chugging water, and the last flatbread- we fell asleep and slept in until 8am. Oh em gee, 8 fricken in the morning. Is that as late as our bodies would let us? We’ll take it.

Breakfast was light and fresh- French toast, greek yogurt and granola bar, eggs, juice, coffee…the hotel was bumpin’ and we were glad to see it filled with all types of people visiting the area. We got in a workout at the on-site gym and went for swim at the pool which made for a nice morning.

As we packed up, we said goodbye to the GM Stacey at the Hyatt who was so glad to hear our stay was above and beyond our expectations. The service we encountered was wonderful and the view from the roof was what changed our thoughts on having Niagara Falls as a staycation. While we missed Chloe, it was so awesome getting away together for a night and pretending we were boyfriend and girlfriend again. We all need that…us married folk, that is. Think outside the box…go somewhere you normally wouldn’t…uncover new adventures…eat a quesadilla in bed at 2am…reminisce…watch the fireworks from the rooftop. See what happens.

Hyatt Place Niagara Falls // 310 Rainbow Blvd. S Niagara Falls, NY 14303

716.285.5000 // Facebook page // Instagram

Location: minutes to the Seneca Casino, around the corned from Old Falls St., walking distance to Niagara Falls State Park, right at the Canadian border

Breakfast included, contemporary rooms, rooftop

Perfect for: staycations, telling your family and friends where to stay while visiting the falls, event space

Day Date: Shirt Factory Cafe

ICYMI, Beau and I hail from Niagara County. Yep. I grew up in Newfane and Beau in Lockport. Perhaps my roots a little more country than him and nonetheless, small-town life is what we know. So when there is a place ‘up north’ that is a must-see…we go!

How much for that baby in the window?

Shirt Factory Cafe is the latest place to be transformed and back on the map in Orleans County. New owners Scott and Alix (you may know them as @DCMinute) have taken over the former Robert H. Newell & Co. building and started its new evolution in to being a staple in Medina, NY. They invited us out to nosh on their soon-to-be revealed Toast Bar and we couldn’t pass it up!

The old Shirt Factory here was quite famous among celebrities around the globe

Medina is also going through a resurgence, like Buffalo just on a small town scale. Neighbors of the Shirt Factory Cafe include Mile 303, Zambistro, the vintage shop Ellen J Goods, and Mariachi de Oro. The Erie Canal flows through Medina and was once a popular stopover for trading. Now you can rent a hydrobike or kayak right in town at Pedal and Paddle Medina!

Scott and Alix’s introduction of a Toast Bar is so fun! They’re tweaking the toast now and we got a sneak peek invite to eat ALL OF IT.

Oh em gee.

I had to get a few bites in here and there before Beau ate them all. The cool thing about the ingredients is that Scott and Alix grow the beets and tomatoes in the garden at their beautiful farmhouse. They also source as many items as possible at local businesses like The Bread Basket in town for the toast.

Chloe approved!

The flight is really great for sharing and just one toast is enough to fill you up. Perfect for a to-go breakfast or lunch!

Their current menu boasts sandwiches, salads, coffee, and smoothies. Breakfast for those locals who need to pop in early and veggie options for those non-carnivorous eaters. We also shared an Avocado and White Bean wrap as well as a Bob Hope (turkey). I could eat the AWB ever day!

Scott and Alix are keeping a few old school Shirt Factory nostalgic items like photos and letters from early and mid 20th century shirt requests which is why we felt so proud to be inside their space. Keeping history with revitalized buildings is so important and they GET IT.

Medina is showing us glimmers of a new destination spot. With wineries nearby, water sports on the canal, and people like Scott and Alix (Medina boomerangs) determined to help shed its old skin there is no doubt you will be checking it out, too. Plans for the Shirt Factory Cafe are coming to fruition with ideas of an upgraded menu, Toast Bar, and eventually cocktails. In the same building, Hart Hotel is open and a boutique style place to stay. Medina is quickly becoming a great day trip or even staycation. Keep your eyes peeled on this one, guys. There’s a new town in…well…town. 😉

Baby Must-Haves: Babylovebird’s Top Ten

Raise your hand if you are totally overwhelmed with how many baby ‘things’ there are out in the world.

Yep, us too.

So that’s why we have compiled a list of Babylovebird’s fav baby things in life….so far. This is our ultimate top ten of what Chloe uses and loves the most- and we swear by all of it. *ages birth to one year

1. Dock a Tot

Chloe, a few days old

Oh it is worth EVERY PENNY. It’s portable, lightweight, and feels like the womb for babies. We have used it for Chloe’s naps and have taken it for overnight travel stays (you can buy a travel case for it). We have used it since she was a newborn and praise it every chance we get. It’s perfect for newborns until they grow out of it. You can buy a second larger size if you want!

2. Binxy Baby

Chloe, shopping of course

The baby shopping hammock! So many comments and questions when Chloe is out and about in the Target aisles. Instead of lugging a huge, heavy, awkward car seat- pop this hammock on to any shopping cart and voila! Chillin’ baby. Easy for you, comfy for baby, and room for groceries. Rolls up for keeping in the car!

3. Muslin Swaddles: Little Unicorn, Oliver+Kit, Mint Berry Market

These three brands have been our favorite. They’re soft and easy to swaddle babies in. Perfect for napping, hanging out on the floor, and cool crisp days. Doesn’t hurt their prints and colors are adorbs. We learned how to swaddle Chloe on YouTube! *you can find Little Unicorn at Research + Design and Sunshine & Bluebirds…Mint Berry is a Buffalo local Mom! Her stuff is online and inside Village Designs!

4. Bink clip holder

Any brand. Doesn’t matter. Get them all. No more binks on the ground or falling out of Chloe’s hands. You’re welcome. See the green strap? Clipped to her with bink tied on. *find some at Buy Buy Baby it on Etsy like this: bink clips

5. Fisher Price Kick ‘n Play Piano Mat

Entertainment! Whew. You’ll find yourself humming the songs it plays but it’s worth having some sort of musical, tangible play mat.

6. Graco Jogger

This one is all Beau. He runs with Chloe to train for his triathlons and it’s been pretty easy to steer and control. Easy to fold down and has decent space underneath for baby gear and bags.

7. Bandana bibs

Get the style anywhere. Not only do they catch all the drool but they look a little bit cooler. We like the muslin ones because they absorb more. Chloe has a ton of them from all sorts of different places like Little Unicorn, Etsy shops, and Target.

8. Ergobaby

The Holy Grail. Another somewhat pricey must-have but also very worth it. Beau carries Chloe wherever we go and it makes it so easy to keep free hands and to not lug a huge stroller around in small areas. Very helpful for festival-going and running errands.

9. Land of Nod Activity Chair

Once Chloe could sit up a little bit, we started integrating the chair. She gets a kick out of sitting in it and playing with the soft features on the ‘tray’. Keeps her occupied longer! Also very portable.

10. 4Moms Highchair

We liked this chair because it was simple and has a magnetized tray. Helpful that it matched our kitchen- so if you’re all about the mono look, too- there ya go. It’s been very easy to clean and the tray comes off a lot easier than most we tried.

As Chloe gets bigger, she obviously will need and want different things to keep her entertained! This is a shortlist that we encourage you to try out. Keep your eyes peeled for more posts about Chloe’s must-haves!

Father’s Day Gift Guide at Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls

We love shopping at the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls. Beau gets a lot of his wardrobe there and we love that there are 200 shops to peruse through. So of course we were excited to team up with the Fashion Outlets again and go on the hunt to show you some really great Father’s Day gift ideas. The outlets always have every day prices that are up to 75% off- can’t beat that!

They’re not far at all- only a short drive from downtown Buffalo and are really accessible from anywhere in WNY. Here is what we found for gift ideas this Father’s Day at any budget:

Some things about Dads: they usually always need help in the fashion department, they never can have enough grilling tools, and sometimes you just need to get them beef jerky. Beau spotted a wall of jerky at the Beef Jerky Outlet and I had to pry him out the shop before buying the whole store.

Over at Puma they had a buy one get 1/2 off T-shirt sale which is perfect since Beau is the super athletic dad.

Michael Kors has everything for the traveling business guy from shiny watches and matching business travel bag for those on the go.

Raise your hand if your dad has old holey underwear. Yup. We found deals on boxers at Banana Republic that seems like it was too good to be true always fun colorful print.

With stores like J.A. Zwilling Henckels you can stock the shed and garage with grilling tools perfect just in time for the summer. Find all the fun Buffalo goodies at the BFLO shop where you can hook him up with a grilling apron, a Bills koozie, and a South Buffalo shot glass when he’s outside making those burgers. And just in time for Father’s Day Old Navy is opening Saturday, June 16. Doesn’t Dad need some new shorts??

It’s not just clothes at the Fashion Outlets! You can find a gift for literally anybody on your list especially dad Father’s Day. He might even be super proud of you that you saved a lot of money and found the deals without tapping him for some cash.

DETAILS:

Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls / 1900 Military Rd. Niagara Falls, NY 14304

Directory List of Stores

*the list also shows what deals are going on at each store!

Where to Find the Flowers: Our WNY Guide to Nurseries & Greenhouses

Fun fact: I grew up on a horticultural farm. My grandfather, parents, Aunt Jillie, siblings, and Great Aunt grew chrysanthemums by the 1,000s in Wrights Corners, NY for years. The tens of acres at my grandparents’ house was magical, beautiful, and hard work. Besides the mums, we also grew vegetables and sunflowers and my Grandpa took much of his garden to the local Farmer’s Market in Lockport every week. My brother studied landscape architecture and my mother is a retired art teacher. So naturally, this whole gardening thing is of interest to me and I am diving in to everything that has to do with the outside of the house.Beau is, too.

My parent’s home in Newfane, NY was meticulously landscaped and they spent every hour they could once the weather broke until the snow fell outside working on their flower beds. It was so stunning that people would drive down our road very slowly to check out the land and ask my Dad questions about what things were. (lol!) I spent ALOT of time in nurseries and greenhouses as a kid and have started to visit many of them now as an adult and getting my own things.

We have some stunning places in WNY and each nursery and greenhouse has a certain personality. Some are fierce flower joints, others focus on shrubs. Some have hearty plants and several are uniquely their own. This list is our personal guide to places we love that you should definitely be hittin’ up this Spring:

Our Top Greenhouses and Nurseries:

Russell’s Tree & Shrub Farm: The best place for trees, bushes, grasses, and shrubs. You can find small to large sizes for your budget and talk about delivery to your place. Transit Rd., East Amherst

Hi-Way Garden Center: A well-maintained and beautiful greenhouse filled with hearty and colorful perennials and annuals. We love getting our coleus, hens and chicks, and vegetables here. (yes, like the veggies you can grow yourself) Tonawanda Creek Rd., Amherst

Lockwood’s: A new discovery for us now that are Southtowners! This place has some stunning houseplants, beautiful spikes, and really hard-to-find annuals. Clark St., Hamburg

Seasonal Nursery: The place to look in to for landscaping design ideas and beautiful hanging baskets. We like to get spikes, sweet potato vines, and impatients here. Bullis Rd., Elma

Angle Acres Greenhouse: Here’s your hidden gem, guys. Angle Acres has 4 greenhouses filled with houseplants and unique varying sizes of succulents. Best place for a photo shoot. ***CASH ONLY. If you forget it’s okay- there is a gas station nearby with an ATM. Angle Rd., Orchard Park

Our original go-to spots also in Niagara County:

Zehr’s, West Lake Rd., Burt

La Roses, Ridge Rd, Lockport

Heimiller Greenhouses, Ewings Rd., Newfane

Northtowns:

Spoth’s, Transit Rd., East Amherst

Badding Brothers, Transit Rd., Amherst

Adam’s Nursery, Genesee St., Lancaster

Curated Buffalo Boxes: buffBOX

It was one of those serendipitous meetings while strolling along Hertel Ave. last fall. The cutest pop-up caught our eye inside a popular local shop and we hit it off talking about Buffalo, Instagram, and the love of WNY artisans. It was buffBOX– a newly launched curated Buffalo box design that was the hit of all that walked by. 

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Heidie, the creator of buffBOX at the Mod/Nos pop-up shop

We were so impressed by this unique business that we caught up with owner Heidie Buffomante (I mean, c’mon, even her name is totally Buffalo!). Check out the inspiration behind the boxes and how you can get one, too:

Okay, we gotta start with the basics like…what is buffBOX and who are you?!

H: buffBOXes are curated collections that offer style, function, and feature items from small businesses. Each is thoughtfully created with a lot of love.

My husband, Adam, and I live in Williamsville with our sweet pup Daisy. I work as an Assistant Principal at a Middle School (which was also my favorite grade level to teach).

People in life matter, a ton. Gifting a custom buffBOX evokes feelings of importance and connection. Your gift recipient will feel like they have just received something extra special as they notice the unexpected details such as the elevated packaging or the handwritten note on linen paper. buffBOXes also support Buffalo’s small businesses and entrepreneurs. When purchasing, you are building into the resurgence of our city. It is my hope that the quality and uniqueness of your buffBOX items will get you right back into that small business to buy more and of course, connect with the owner/creator/artisan/entrepreneur.

This is new to the scene! How did it all begin and what was your inspiration behind it all? Everyone has a story about their creations!

H: After a brain injury in August 2014 I spent a significant amount of time at home recovering. It brought me immense joy to remix items throughout our home to optimize their function while also creating something beautiful. I needed to be in a space that elicited feelings of comfort and coziness as Adam and Daisy spent many evenings and weekends tucked inside with me. I evolved into styling spaces for my mom, sister and friends. All the while, I would have consistent FaceTime sessions with my dear friend Aubrey in California where we would dream about this turning into a business. Most recently in October 2017 I decided to share my curated pairings of home goods more fbroadly, did a big shop, came up with 30 variations, and had a “First Look” with family and friends a week later. Very shortly after that Adam picked me up from work on an afternoon we planned to hit up the small businesses on Hertel. It was a very rainy day and we considered just going home. Instead, we braved the Buffalo weather, had a conversation with a few local entrepreneurs about this passion project, and weeks later we were popped-up inside their store. This launched buffBOXes being featured in local blogs, a segment on Channel 7 news, collaborations with local entrepreneurs, and most importantly Adam and I met a lot of new people in our city of Buffalo. We are forever grateful to Bri at Modern Nostalgia, Matt with Scout & Cedar, and Katie creator of BKindCity for believing in buffBOXes and embracing us on that rainy night.

 

It’s nice to have a creative-type put these gifts together as a gift! Where do you frequent to find pieces for the boxes?

H: I create buffBOXes with functional and unique items I find on our travels around Buffalo and day trips on the weekend. This ensures there is a small business feature in each box. This is important to me and part of why I enjoy curating buffBOXes because each has its own authentic story that is shared on the personalized stationery packaged inside. I also have my stores I frequent often like Hobby Lobby and Marshall’s. I can always find supporting pieces to the anchor item in each box.

buffbox2

 

What are some good uses for a buffBOX? What kind of gifts could it be for?

H: Reason- (birthday, baby shower, housewarming, new job, just ‘cause, treat yo’ self)

Season- (spring tablescape, essential summer decor, fall vignette, hot cocoa station for a winter wonderland)

Holiday- (Valentine/Galentine, Mother’s & Father’s Day, Halloween, Christmas

In each custom buffBOX there is a handwritten note sharing the small business feature, where the items have traveled from, or how it will compliment their lifestyle based on the information the gift-giver provides on my custom order form.

 

What are the ranges of buffBOXes if readers are looking to send a gift?

H: Custom buffBOXes come two ways: Regular $69, and BIG buffBOX for $99

For Pop-Ups at local businesses prices range from $4 to $45 for the Build-Your-Own buffBOX option. You can pick and choose which items you want with attractive price points.

 

How do the gifts get to the people?

H: Free pickup, $10 delivery within 20 miles of Williamsville. Shipping adds on a cost of the flat rate box.

 

Where can people see the buffBOXes? 

H: Instagram @buffboxes is the platform I use to share what’s available for purchase, dates/locations for pop-ups, completed custom orders (with permission from the gift-giver), and information on how to order your own.

My personal Instagram @heidiebuff is a place to checkout how I style our home through the seasons and behind the scenes footage of my creation stages of buffBOXes in the Instagram Story. I just saved our adventure to Rochester to find some new goodies in the Highlight section.

 

What visually inspires you?

H: Casual simplicity of Skeem Design, color palettes of Kate Spade NY for spring, craftsmanship of Mariposa, timeless pieces in Mackenzie Childs courtly check, lush blankets in neutral color tones by Barefoot Dreams.

 

You recently had your home featured in Buffalo News! Yay!! How do you envision certain rooms and looks? What is the style you aim to achieve?

H: I am committed to creating our home spaces that are functional and truly evoke feelings of comfort and coziness. To do this, I start with an anchor item and monochromatic color palette. This helps guide my purchasing of other complementing pieces. For example, our oversized coffee table in white washed wood drove the tone of the wooden tabletop tray stacked with books and the hammered metal coaster set. Our hobbies are also sprinkled throughout the home, like Adam’s fondness of sports and collector items and our board game collection. See more pics here!

1009185304 Home of the Month December 5 Cantillon.JPG
Heidie, Adam, and Daisy from their Buffalo News photoshoot // pic: The Buffalo News

 

So you guys are in the Northtowns- what is your go-to place to eat? Any good date night suggestions?

H: Sandwiches and salads at D’Avolio or Japanese at Kumo for lunch. Roccos, San Marco Restaurant, Share, and Sinatra’s for dinner. The best date nights always involve an activity like bowling, games like Spot It, or popping in to play with our nephew Little Rick.

How can people get a buffBOX for someone??

H: Follow @buffBOXes on Instagram! If you are not a user, email me at heidie.buff@gmail.com

Working on a new custom order form that will be available soon!

 

Check out buffBOXes in person and meet Heidie! Pop on over to the Ellicott Square Building for the City of Buffalo Artists Market on Saturday 5/12/2018 from 11am-3pm. And remember- Mother’s Day is coming up on 5/13/18 so you’re going to want to send Mom a super fun buffBOX. 🙂