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!

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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. 🙂 

Date Night: Buffalo Collective

Recently, we were invited to Buffalo Collective’s space over in South Buffalo for a DIY studio pallet night. Sure, we have all heard of the paint nights and probably have been to one (or ten), but THIS is something different. Cool. Like, Joanna Gaines cool.

Sometimes, Beau doesn’t listen. I had told him about ten times what we were going to be doing on this particular date night and when we got there- he said to me, ‘You didn’t tell me I would be painting! Oh my God, what if I mess up?’ The dude knew. Busted, hubby. Luckily, Buffalo Collective guides you through the whole process and in the end you step back and want to do another…and another….

Pic: @buffalocollective

With two locations- one on Abbott Rd. in South Buffalo and the other on Harlem in Amherst, Buffalo Collective was started by a duo of mamas looking to get their creative side out and to other people. It’s a more hands-on place than you expect. You use POWER TOOLS. Pallet boards are pre-cut and sanded for you but you get to put the board together yourself including the backing. The gals (we had one of the owners, Jill) help you through the adventure and offer tips on making your board clean and accurate. Pick your paints, learn about easy ways to pattern your pallets, and sip some wine while waiting for paint to dry. (Yep, you can get a drink at the ‘bar’)

Buffalo Collective has open and private parties available and the best way to get one started (we’re thinkin’ the ‘new’ bachelorette party, friends in town, gather all the ladies in the fam, roll in with your significant other…) is on their website. A private party is a minimum of 12 people, a group booking is 6 people, and you can choose your date online. There are even kid events you can do- perfect for a family date! Getting married? Buffalo Collective also makes signs and table numbers for weddings. Check everything out on their site!

So…here is how our night went:

Beau was in a room filled with ladies, yes, but who cares? Pallet parties are for the boys, too. He was so serious making his board for Chloe’s room that he proclaimed he wanted to return to do it again so he could perfect it. Oh, Beau!

Do something different. Do something fun. Gather your squad and book a night at one of the Buffalo Collective spots. You’ll be proud at the end, channeling your inner Fixer Upper style. We had so much fun!

DETAILS:

Buffalo Collective locations: see online (Southtowns, Northtowns) Street parking in Southtowns.

Instagram // Facebook

Perfect for girl night, fam time, date night, parties, solo, fundraisers.

Drinks for purchase, smocks on site, immediate assistance.

Colors and Magic at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery

Aren’t we so lucky to have these incredible museums right here in our backyard? As kids, we are exposed to them through field trips and as adults we get to relive those moments all over again but with fresh eyes and respect.

Beau and I have been Albright-Knox Art Gallery lovers for life. My school did field trips here and I was able to experience my Mother (now a retired Art Teacher) taking her students to it as well. We went as a family a few times and as a ‘big kid’, Beau and I have attended for live music and special exhibits. Now that we have Chloe, it’s a whole new adventure. We took her for her very first Albright experience last weekend and it was more magical than we expected.

AKG had a hands-on exhibit called ‘Art of the Senses’ which included works you could taste, touch, and hear. Great interaction for people of all ages, especially babies! Chloe was looking everywhere and seemed to love the bright art the most. The museum was packed and rightly so- the second exhibit featured the Japanese artist Takashi Murakami which was colorful, mesmerizing, and imaginative. (Think: the Japanese Lisa Frank)

AKG is stroller-friendly (can carefully take stairs, too, but there is a small elevator). There is a cafe inside you can grab lunch at- a sit down so you can enjoy your time. The gift shop is always fun afterward because you will find unique art supplies, books, and decor. You see classic artists such as Picasso, Monet, and Matisse and they even brought back the ever-popular favorite: The Mirrored Room by Lucas Samaras. *bring socks so you can step inside!

We’re pretty cheesy, if you didn’t already know. Every time we had Chloe take some pics, she giggled and posed- clearly she has the cheese, too. Must be in our genes! How can you not want to get a cool shot in the Albright-Knox though??

These exhibits I mentioned have ended their time at AKG, but the museum is constantly curating new exhibits and artists to come. The best place to see what is currently there and arriving soon is on their website: Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Follow their Instagram, too!

This is seriously one of our top fav date places in Buffalo! You can solo, grab a friend, bring the kids and baby, cross generations, or go on a date.

Grab your camera, grab your person…even download their app to play some fun games. We are too lucky not to keep going to AKG again and again, to expose our young selves once again and of course to enlighten the future youth.

Details:

Albright-Knox Art Gallery // 2182 Delaware Ave. Buffalo 14216

Tuesday – Sunday 10-5 // First Friday of each month is 10-10

Parking in lot: $5 for guests

Available street parking behind the museum

Family / friends / solo / date night / day date

Date Night: The Best View of Buffalo Is Here

@sbronkie1@sbronkie1

Last Friday night was date night, as always. It’s one of my favorite nights because it is usually a guarantee that Beau and I will go out to eat somewhere new. We are tired from the week, know we have a packed weekend, and realize we will only have a couple of hours to hang out before it’s witching hour…aka- bedtime for 10 month old parents.

I secretly like when Beau makes reservations and doesn’t tell me where. Chloe would be coming with us (the norm) and he said we would be downtown. Hmmm. Then he said Panorama on Seven inside the Marriott Harborcenter. Wahoo! I had only been to events in their rooms the past two years so I was excited to eat there FINALLY. But with Chloe?

Right off the bat, Panorama was accommodating. We chose our table on the semi-quiet evening and they had a high chair for Chloe. A baby in a nicer place? You cray, Buffalovebirds. Yes and no. Chloe is a super chill and happy baby so we have been able to take her everywhere without a peep. Will that change? I’m sure. But for now we’re using it to our advantage. The lights were dim and the view of Canalside was so fun. You can see the ice skaters on the rink- it’s like watching one of those Christmas snow globes your grandma had where there’s little tiny ice skaters on a pond.

@panoramaonseven

We first ordered the Butternut Bisque and a Beet Salad. Well, dang. Simple and delicious. Chloe got to try the bisque, which she approved of tenfold. She ate most of our beets, which is fine. Baby munchkin prefers eating what we do now. Her book was in hand and she grinned ear to ear when we gave her bits of dinner.

Beau had the Prime Rib Grilled Cheese and I opted for the Bolognese- both of which were wonderful. Our server Yonis was excellent- always checking in on us and making sure any food Chloe was going to test did not have pepper or spices in it. We didn’t even ask- he just took the reigns. Service!

We ordered a side of Sweet Potato Mash for Chloe, which they even garnished for her. She had been quiet and smiley the whole evening. If she could have, she would have eaten the whole bowl of mash. It was delicious, we don’t blame ya kid.

Get it, girl

We made brief conversation with an older couple nearby who commented on how well-behaved Chloe is. (Yay, now don’t fail us Chloe!) Our tiny trick we do now when we are out to eat with her is requesting the bill right before we are finished. Beau makes sure to explain everything is great but we just prepare to exit before any malfunction. LOL Yonis scurried, mentioning he had something to bring for us.

Out comes a to-go box of their Sponge Candy Cheesecake for us to take home. Omg, someone knows the secret to our hearts! It was so nice of Panorama to send this off with us! I could tell Beau was thinking he could eat all of it before I even took a bite. There were pieces of sponge candy and dried cherries inside too and we informed Chloe she couldn’t have any. Luckily, she’s language-less right now.

As we packed up Chloe, I ran in to a co-worker and his friends so we said hello and did intros. He brought his crew to eat at (716) and brought them up to Panorama to show off the view. Rightly so, cause it may be the best in Buffalo right now. During daylight, you can see the city, Canalside, and the water. Love.

Before heading out, we inquired about their meeting spaces since Beau hosts clients and colleagues for events periodically at work. They have their M Lounge which is more casual for Marriott guests and beside their large event venues they have a great Boardroom capable of holding 12-14 people. Great view to show off to people!

We had a truly wonderful experience at Panorama and that was makes us want to return again and again and also to share with people what it is like. It’s a great spot for date night, hanging out for a drink or two with friends at the bar, and if you have a super well-behaved Baby then absolutely. (*if Chloe was not that way, we would not be taking her to places. not everywhere is for the two foot tall humans)

Chloe waiting for the elevator. Clearly something is funny.

Thanks, Panorama! We had a great night and can’t wait to visit again!

DETAILS:

Panorama on Seven // inside Harborcenter Marriott // 95 Main St. Buffalo

Parking: use valet! A tip given to us for next time. We had parked inside the Harborcenter ramp ($3)

Great for date night, friends, brunch // Business casual & clean

Follow them on social: @panoramaonseven

@stepoutbuffalo

Chocolate Date for the New Generation: Platter’s Chocolates


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!

we’re suckers for some good plants

 

 


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!).

You can see inside their production room!


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!

Details

  • Platter’s Chocolates / The Wurlitzer Building, 908 Niagara Falls Blvd. / North Tonawanda, NY 14120
  • 716-693-5391
  • 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

 

  • The Orange Chocolate custard with Orange Chocolate Fudge and Orange Chocolate Sponge! Whoa. So damn good!


    they even have teamed up with the new events space inside the Wurlitzer building to have their Chocolate and Sponge at weddings held there!

Eckl’s Family Date Night

We feel like bad Buffalonians! We had never been to Eckl’s and we were reminded to check it out when we finished devouring our Beef on Weck at their Taste of Orchard Park tent. Known as one of the top places in WNY to get the beef, we also discovered that they are LITERALLY right down the road from where we live. How have we been so clueless?!

there is another side to the menu, too!
Ok, so we went and we’re not on the naughty list anymore.

It was a family affair- meaning Chloe was included. The munchkin is such a piece of cake (knock on wood) that she has been bellying up to restaurants with us recently. Baby-friendly ones of course. **a list of those places will come soon!**

BabyLovebird, Chloe
The hidden gem is legitimately hidden….on Ellicott Rd. in Orchard Park, off of Route 277. It’s inside one of the oldest homes in OP- 201 years old!- and has that homey feel once you step inside. Many tables, wood panel walls, sectioned rooms, and a bar where everybody knows your name. (we bet you’re singing the ‘Cheers’ theme song now) The restaurant has occupied the building since the early 1900s and officially became Eckl’s in 1934. They’re known for their top-of-the-line Certified Black Angus top round Beef on Weck.

Everyone waiting on us was extremely friendly and cheerful, which always makes or breaks a meal. As usual, we tried numerous plates….then came the beef.

beef on weck
The cool thing about the beef is that it’s cut thicker and has very little, if any, fat on it. We can understand why they’re known for this. We’ll be back.

Details:

Eckl’s 4936 Ellicott Rd. Orchard Park, NY 14127 // 716.662.2262 

reservations for over 6 people Sun.-Thurs. // no reservations Fri. or Sat.

family friendly / fun date / kid approved / comfort food

relish tray…old school!

we are kinda obsessed with beef on weck egg rolls that keep popping up around town

bacon-wrapped scallops

potato pancakes

Daddy Beau & Chloe O.