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 corner 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

Welcome to the Grit….House

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, Grit House is where it’s at. This place is pumping out beats that run through your veins while you watch the sweat drip from your brow. The fitness family here welcomed me with open arms…which quickly turned in to kicking my a** and keeping me focused.

Grit House offers a range of classes 7 days a week from 5:15am to 7:30pm and all are designed to have you crawling to the door. It’s a true experience and their style of workout is unique to them. I have popped in to many gyms and have to say, ya gotta experience the Grit to understand what goes on behind that garage door…but if that garage door is open- prepare yourself. They offer classes like ‘Camp Grit’ and ‘Athlete 2.0’ where you will find familiar terms like spin, cardio, pilates, tabata, ropes, yoga, and boxing.

As someone who has been to tons of workout classes, I know that a place is only as good as their instructors. At Grit, you won’t find anything but intense in-your-face and ready-to-roll instructors. *drum roll, please* You’ve got Ashlee ‘No Joke’ Lonergan, owner. Something about someone smiling as they yell at you has always confused me. Next up- Jay ‘I Run 16 Miles at 2am Then Instruct Back-to-Back Classes’ McFadden. Jay will test you constantly while he admires his sweet beard. Then we have Matt ‘Can’t Stop. Won’t Stop’ Bermingham. This sexy beast of a man is about to be 50. I almost hurled taking his boxing class. Win. Last but not least- Jenea ‘Twinkle Toes’ Castanza-Smith. Her pilates class is unique to her and if my wife won’t say it, I will- my a** is lookin’ pretty good.

The atmosphere and environment at Grit House is genuinely cool. They have accomplished setting themselves apart and creating a style of working out that can only be understood by showing up. Side note…did I mention they have showers? HUGE PERK and I think I may be the only one that uses it and that’s fine with me.

What you need to know: they’re located at 97 Main St. in Hamburg. Download the MindBody App to sign up for classes. They are one of the few that offer a monthly unlimited rate (a no-brainer in my world). Classes fill up quickly and signing up a week in advance is recommended.

To Ashlee and Jay- thank you for welcoming me in to your fitness family down here in the Southtowns and for opening up roughly a year ago. Let the pain, sweat, tears, and smiles continue. December Challenge is in full swing and I’m getting my a** handed to me…but that’s the point.

-Beau

Grit House// 97 Main St. Hamburg, NY 14075 // www.grithousebuffalo.com

Holiday Looks from the Fashion Outlets Of Niagara Falls

We have a secret: all of our great finds happen at the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls. Seriously. Beau gets all of his workout gear from Puma, Chloe gets her fancy pants from Janie and Jack, and I get tons of business attire from J. Crew and Banana Republic. Just to name a few.

We teamed up with the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls- they dared us to find a holiday look without breaking our bank. BRING IT. We were so in. There are tons of stores that have incredible deals, especially in December- each day there is up to 75% off pricing and then on top of those deals you can find the holiday pricing too! It’s so easy to find a handful of different party looks…because you can’t be rockin’ the same outfit at every event.

Don’t believe us? That’s ok- this list here shows you all the deals happening in December. See for yourself. The best part of the Outlets is that they are not that far away. REPEAT: they’re dang close. When we lived in downtown Buffalo, it took us 20 minutes and in Orchard Park it takes us 35 minutes. It’s a nice drive with coffee in hand. Take the 190N for a pretty view of the water if you come from the south. And once you get there, you’ll have plenty of shops in and around the outlets plus a lot of options for refueling with food.

Bring the kiddos because Santa is visiting through 12/24 and the fur babies can hang out with him for photos through 12/21. Check here for details. Chloe held on pretty well for her first shot!

Ok ok, so on to our finds for our next casual holiday party!

Chloe: Janie and Jackhat, shorts, tights
Beau: J.Crew- sweater // Express- pants // Michael Kors- watch
Beau: Puma- sneakers // Chloe: Gap- sweatshirt
Chloe: Janie and Jack- hat, top, jacket
Lindsay: J. Crew- top, skirt // Express- earrings // Banana Republic- tights // bare + BEAUTY- bareMinerals lipstick

Check out the most updated list of stores at the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls. We think you’ll be surprised. Challenge yourself to check out some unique stores like Sarar for men’s suits, Beef Jerky Outlet for the carnivore in your family, Helly Hansen for outdoor ski wear, Le Creuset for cast iron cookware, Just Cozy has all the holiday leggings for Christmas morning, and DAVIDsTEA has the tea-lover needs. The online site has an easy-to-read map so you can plan out where to park (we like coming in through Saks) and which way you’re headed. Oh and our biggest must-do? You MUST check out the Donut Ninja, a little kiosk in the center of the mall. They’re fryin’ up donuts, they’re local, and we’re obsessed.

Thank you, Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls, for always helping us find what we need! We’ll see you again real soon.

Get ‘Trapped’: Can You Escape? 

trapped logo

Remember those mystery room games we played online as kids? Heck, even the ones we secretly downloaded on our iPads as adults? How we totally envisioned ourselves in a real-life room all locked up and declaring we would ‘totally nail this’ if it were real? Okay…now is your chance. They have arrived in WNY.

Before Chloe arrived, we hit up ‘Trapped- A Buffalo Escape Room Experience‘ with our friends and put ourselves to the test: are we smart enough to escape the room before time is up?

Trapped is located on Sheridan in Tonawanda and is very unassuming at first.  You can book online or call to schedule your fate. It has several rooms you can choose from, each with a different backstory and theme. We booked the escape with two sets of our couple friends who met us in the lobby where we were transported in to our story- Room 9 (notably the toughest room they have). After hearing the room’s backstory (a 1970s-inspired haunted hotel room) and the rules of the game dished out (one hour to beat the clock…question everything in there), we were escorted in to our room and ‘locked in’. Now to escape…

Dark. Creepy. A thunderous rainstorm pours through the speakers. *insert wide-eyed emoji

The six of us were pretty (overly) confident. We joked that between all of our education degrees and the amount of hours spent playing these online games between us, we were going to NAIL THIS. We started searching for clues, digging in to things, checking every nook and cranny- finding clues, riddles, and pictures…psh, we are so going to do this in, like, 15 minutes.

*49 minutes later*

‘Oh my God, I’m sweating!!!’, someone exclaims. Clearly due to the ticking clock.

Not only does the creepy music and sound effects get to you (in the right way) but the fact that you still have insane locks and puzzles to solve with minutes to spare makes you feel nuts! You cannot help but chuckle at your failures and try to reassess. Okay, so maybe these rooms are more challenging in the real world. We can’t give away everything about Room 9, but we can tell you that we made it out under an hour (barely) and it definitely made us laugh from frustration.

trapped room 9
entry to Room 9 *photo courtesy of Trapped

trapped room 9 blood
inside Room 9…whoa. *photo courtesy of Trapped

Trapped is a fun and different experience to take on with friends and family- even a good challenge for team and work bonding. The three themed rooms rotate throughout the year to keep things fresh and new- and they have just begun Mystery Tap Takeovers which is something really cool to rally your friends up for. You can book the takeovers on their site. We were all back to (overly) confident feelings- you know…since we made it out in 58 minutes. Pros. Obviously.

Our crew: Jess, Tom, Beau, super pregnant Lindsay (me), super pregnant Amy, and Andrew


So if you are stuck trying to figure out something different and unique to do in Buffalo this weekend, you really should head to Trapped and test out your skills. And live out your teenage dream of totally escaping like a pro (yea, we’ll see!). Gather your buds and test yourself- will you survive? Let us know!


Trapped– 2171 Sheridan Dr., Tonawanda 14223…716-495-0002

  • Tuesday-Sunday; special requests…$25/player…4-10 players each room
  • cool for friends, family, kids (with adult supervision), work colleagues, team building
  • hit up Buffalo Tap Room & Grill after for some grub & a beer (5 minutes away)

Facebook info

*thanks to Trapped for the cool experience and for the sneak peek pics below!

trapped chess
looks innocent in The Wizard’s Keep room, no?

trapped room 9 locks
see ALL of those locks in Room 9??? and that is only a few of them…

trapped suitcases
the lock codes change throughout the year along with the room themes

trapped tomb coins
The Tomb- what does this all mean?

trapped tomb pharoah
hmm…

trapped room 9 phone
everything means something at Trapped…

Win Tickets to the Buffalo Philharmonic for Valentine’s Day 2015!

Kleinhans
Kleinhans

We have a pair of tickets to the BPO’s event this weekend (Valentine’s Day!) to giveaway to the lovebirds out there! Contest begins today Tuesday February 10th and ends Friday February 13th at 11am. The tickets include the concert performance of ‘Festa Italiano’ and the Sweetheart Dance to follow. Why not spend love day with your favorite person at Kleinhans and our beloved Philharmonic?

To enter —> Using Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or email- hashtag a photo of you and your lovebird along with a Frank Sinatra lyric that sums up you as a couple. The concert on Saturday will have Sinatra all over the place and we think that crooner is the epitome of love! Hashtag to use: #buffaloveBPO to enter the contest!

QUICK DETAILS:

win 2 tickets to the BPO this Saturday February 14th, 2015

concert & dance, 8pm

hashtag a pic of you & your lovebird on our Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or email buffalovebirds@gmail.com

make sure to use a Sinatra lyric along with it that sums you two up!

use the hashtag: #buffaloveBPO

*winner chosen at random

What We Did: Creating Your Own Weekend in Downtown Buffalo

The greatest weekends are the ones you don’t plan. And the beautiful part of our city is that literally every corner you turn, Buffalo offers something to do, eat, see, or explore. This past weekend was no exception and it shows how you can fill your days off with adventures together.

The best part of living at the central, gorgeous Hotel Lafayette is that we can walk to hundreds of restaurants, theaters, events, and watering holes. Taking a 15 minute walk to Dinosaur BBQ (located on Franklin), we stuffed our faces and took on the Devil’s Duel sauce. (!!!) We are always so excited to see downtown places packed with people. Not sure if we will ever get over that…more on Dino BBQ later…

Dino BBQ
Dino BBQ

 

Always nosey about the Main St. progress, we noticed from the police station to Shea’s had been cleaned up and installed with new benches, flowers, and lights. It was thrilling to see dirt, stone, and machines cleared away (finally). The walk home always gives us different views. Upon arrival at the Lafayette, we watched as the closing CNU after-party took to the streets with landscape architect’s grass and trees brought in to takeover Washington St. People were buzzing everywhere and we watched a tango duo dance in the street while Argentinian music filled the air.

 

 

Main St., Buffalo - revived
Main St., Buffalo – revived
Main St. details
Main St. details
tango dancers in the street
tango dancers in the street

Saturday morning, we grabbed our bikes for a ride at the Outer Harbor area. Waving to Buffalo kayakers and watching little kids learning to rollerblade with their Dad, we took in the sunshine and busted out a quick and easy 20 mile ride. Very different from the girl lovebird’s usual biking at Presque Isle in Erie, PA (where she lived for 9 years)- from lush woods along the lake and sandy beaches and quiet to old industry stretches within a newly developing New York State Park acreage. The bike paths are a fantastic addition to downtown and they have come a long way in the past 2.5 years.

hi, guys!
hi, guys!

IMG_5874[1]
pausing on the path; Union Ship Canal- Outer Harbor, Buffalo, NY
We stopped at the free carousel (located across from the Tifft Nature Preserve entrance) that is in the middle of a grassy space. (see our Instagram shots here from our first visit!) How could you not go for a spin? Perfect for families, kids, and adults. It also got us thinking- what ever happened to the idea of solar-powered carousels at Inner Harbor?? This carousel is run by a company who has it here until the end of August- free, everyday. This is only the beginning of what can happen in this space.

carousel- five minutes outside of downtown Buffalo
carousel- five minutes outside of downtown Buffalo

Stopping at Dug’s Dive on the water, we refueled amidst the boaters, families, and couples who were enjoying the perfect weather. You can bike, run, walk, or drive to Dug’s from downtown. We need more on-the-water spots.

outside of Dug's Dive
outside of Dug’s Dive

Back at the Hotel, we cleaned up and headed to East Aurora for the Music Festival. Slightly confusing and very spaced out, we didn’t get to see many bands…but we did grab some wings and beef on weck at Bar Bill’s. Duh. Ending the day with ice cream at Fowler’s on EA’s Main St., we randomly chose to see a film at Quaker Crossing and then hit the pillow back home.

Bar Bill's: the best wings in WNY (just an opinion!)
Bar Bill’s: the best wings in WNY (just an opinion!)

Sunday morning was quiet and peaceful as the guy lovebird ventured on his morning bike ride- that ended in an afternoon call saying, ‘Hey! I’m at your parent’s house in Newfane!’

What? lol.

So we enjoyed the rain pattering in the woods in Niagara County, made sure the biker got a good nap in, and devoured hometown staple of Wilson’s pizza and wings. Hmm, now that we think about it…we didn’t eat too well this past weekend…

a lovebird's childhood home
a lovebird’s childhood home

Moral of the story is that downtown Buffalo can take you anywhere this weekend. Its new ability to give you something to do together every moment of every day is not to be missed, WNYers. We have an up-and-coming city that you have to start experiencing now- from scratch. Where will this weekend lead you?