The Brains and Beauties Behind Alchemy Wine & Beer

 Nicole Casell & Anne McIntosh - owners of Alchemy Wine & Beer  (photo courtesy of Nicole and Anne at Alchemy)

Nicole Casell & Anne McIntosh - owners of Alchemy Wine & Beer

(photo courtesy of Nicole and Anne at Alchemy)

Its Thanksgiving week and while I have many things to be thankful for I thought I would kick off the week by featuring two women who I was lucky to meet a couple weeks ago. Nicole Casell and Anne McIntosh are the beauty and the brains behind the AMAZING Alchemy Wine & Beer in Hamburg.

 (photo courtesy of Nicole and Anne at Alchemy)

(photo courtesy of Nicole and Anne at Alchemy)

Having opened in June the two gals put everything they had into opening a one of a kind space where all are welcome. Learn more about these two powerhouse women below.

 (photo Just a Blonde in Buffalo)

(photo Just a Blonde in Buffalo)

How did you two meet?

  • About a decade ago. Nicole’s best friend is Anne’s sister in law. Since then the two have traveled around the world together.

How did Alchemy start?

  • With their passion of wine. It was always an idea and passion project and as the both of them traveled together they continued to find great establishments. While they were in New Orleans they visited a wine bar and in the backyard of the establishment the inspiration came to them and from that inspiration snowballed Alchemy.

 (photo Just a Blonde in Buffalo Instagram @bybuffalob)

(photo Just a Blonde in Buffalo Instagram @bybuffalob)

Why Hamburg?

  • While looking at locations, they looked at the City of Buffalo, but having a couple wine bars already, they decided to plant roots in the southtowns. Why? because the southtowns didn’t have any wine bars and it just made sense. Anne was born and raised in Hamburg and Nicole recently made the move with her family to Hamburg from Buffalo.

What do you love best about Buffalo?

  • The size of Buffalo is the perfect size for a city. The amount of events and activities that take place, its condensed, but big enough to still explore and find new things.

While I was talking with Nicole and Anne, I learned a lot more about them. As you can imagine, opening a business is tough, a lot of time, money and dreams are put on the line and Nicole and Anne did it all on their own. People may have a preconceived notion that they own a business and have staff to do everything, but they are not absentee owners, they are involved and have been involved from the ground up. Alchemy is the outcome of hard work and passion from two normal women who are only in their 30’s.

Here are some other things I’d like you to know:

  • The wine at Alchemy is wine you will not find at your local stores. It’s limited, small batch, boutique wines, opening the customers to experience wine from many regions. It’s meant to show people that wine does not have to be over thought.

  • They also serve beer and cider (for those non wine drinkers).

  • Nicole and Anne are level one Sommelier’s.

  • They have a work life blend - never being unplugged, finding balance and structure is unique, but well worth it.

  • Don’t be afraid to pay for help. Nicole and Anne opened a business not really having a background in business, but pursuing a dream and they learned as they went. Ask questions and do research.

  • Alchemy is meant to be casual, it’s meant to be a gathering space

  • Alchemy is not a sit down, full service restaurant. It is a place that offers an array of appetizers/shared plates - easy and humble food (*check out their Charcuterie board next time you’re there).

  • Alchemy is a wine bar community space

 (photo courtesy of Nicole and Anne at Alchemy)

(photo courtesy of Nicole and Anne at Alchemy)

Nicole and Anne continue to keep moving forward and growing and as they do so they are paying it forward. They have learned so much in a short amount of time and are willing to share their experiences with others.

In the short amount of time I spent with the both of them, I learned so much and am so thankful for the opportunity to share their story. As a woman in her 30’s these two ladies are very inspiring and meeting with them only motivates me to pursue those passions I have for myself.

Lastly, I’ll leave you with these takeaways that have stuck with me since I met with Nicole and Anne- level set your expectations, find balance, learn to delegate tasks, have a good team and don’t ever give up on something your passionate about. Thank you Nicole and Anne for being the kick ass gals that you are.

-B

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If you follow Alchemy on social media you know they host an array of events, from collaborating with crafters and artists, to hosting live music, tastings and wellness events, any event you attend gives off a feel good vibe. Alchemy is open to collaborating with more people so if you have an event you’d like to host, reach out!






















day of coordination from the day of Buffalo

 Image from the day of  Facebook  page

Image from the day of Facebook page

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Feel Good Friday with Revolution Buffalo

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We're heading into Memorial Day weekend and I thought I'd share a feel good post update on the gals from Revolution Buffalo. You see it all started when I met Colleen, Rachel and Amanda in the Carriage House studio on Delaware Ave. a little over three years ago {January 14, 2015 to be exact}.  What was an interview for my blog on a new spin studio to hit town turned into friendships and a lifestyle I am so thankful for. 

I caught up with the gals at their studio {1716 Main Street} a couple weeks ago to see how life has been treating them since they began what I like to call a "Rev Movement."

Read along to learn more...

What have you learned about each other since opening Rev? 

Amanda: If one of us is at a low point or going through something, the other two are there to hype you up and lift your spirits. 

Rachel: Each of us has different strengths that compliment one another.

Colleen: We all balance each other out. 

Did you ever imagine Rev to be this big? 

A,R,C: Yes, our intent was to make it big, but to also make it meaningful.

What is your favorite class to teach? And what is your favorite Rev class to take? 

Rachel: To Teach - Rev Ride 45 minutes, To Take - Rev Shred 

Colleen: To Teach - Rev Ride 60 minutes, To Take - TRX {Colleen is an old school at heart}

Amanda: To Teach - Rev Ride 45 minutes, To Take - Rev Row Strength 

If you know the ladies you know besides having their families, they each have a full time job on top of owning their own business. So I asked them, when do they find time to workout and prep for the classes they teach. 

All of them said they make time throughout their day, whether they stop into the studio on their lunch break or pop into the studio early in the morning before they have a personal training session with a client, they find time in their day. They may even stop by and take a class from other local studios like Long + Lean Pilates or Barre Centric to change up their routine.

They prep for the classes they teach late at night or in the car if they hear a song come on the radio. They plan their classes on how how they're feeling. The playlists they create feature an array of music in which all the Rev instructors can share with one another and that sometimes helps get inspiration for their class.

What do you love most about owning your own business? 

Colleen: The control of the experience for the client. When someone walks in the door that feeling they feel the moment they walk in is special and we are a part of making it special. 

Rachel: Meeting new people and making new connections. 

Amanda: Her life got full when Rev began. Meeting new people and sharing the same interests and lifestyle with new people. And knowing it all doesn't have to get done in one day. Work will always be there.

What is your favorite memory so far? 

Amanda: When they first opened it was all hands on deck. The late nights after teaching classes; cleaning, painting, doing so much to get the studio ready and keep it in tact. Three years later they have a lot more people to help keep the studio running. 

Colleen: When we hired our first instructor and saw the class sell out. Its a cool feeling to be so passionate and have our Rev instructors have that same amount of passion and care as we do. There is pride about Rev fitness and each other and we have a great group of people with us. 

Rachel: When we moved from the carriage house and had our first class at 1716 Main Street. To see the first class take off here was pretty awesome. 

Would you do it all again knowing what you know now? 

A,C,R: YES! Absolutely, we wouldn't know what to do with ourselves without it. 

Why do you think people choose Rev?

A,C,R: Its a combination of things, the sense of intimacy, the high standards not only we carry, but our entire staff carries as well. People come to sweat, but also to be a part of the "Rev life." Good attracts good and we all like to meet new people and be a part of the community's everyday routine.

What have you learned most since opening Rev? 

A, C, R: We all learned how to be flexible and understand what a "true passion" really is and what it really means, when you're 100% in it, it's a cool feeling. We are so much stronger than we used to be. When you face your fear you learn to have thick skin. "I'm in this, own it and move forward."

What are your plans for down the road? 

Well Buffalo, stay tuned for the answer to this question. Some exciting news is to be shared soon, so make sure to follow Revolution Buffalo on social media! :) 

So with that I'm going to put in my two cents now. What I can tell you from my experience going to Rev is, this "Rev Nation" that I like to call it, is strong, powerful and most importantly its positive. Rev is one place in town that I know I can always go and know I will have a good experience. Its a place I count on when I need a pick me up or just feel good vibes, I walk in and my entire mood is changed. Its more than just a building with four walls, its a community, a lifestyle, a family. A family that encourages one another, lifts one another up and represents what Western New York is, a "City of Good Neighbors." 

I am a better person for knowing these three ladies. Not only do they and their entire staff help make you a stronger person physically, they also make you a stronger person mentally. You will sweat more and laugh more, but you will also learn to love more. That's the #RevLife

And on that note I will end with a quote that has stuck with me since my first class at Rev and that is from Rachel "We are not tired, we are strong." and that we all are. xo

-B

 

The Maned Wolf at the Buffalo Zoo

If you know me you know my love for animals and you know my love for the Buffalo Zoo. A couple years ago I decided to sponsor the Maned Wolf exhibit at the Zoo. Located in the Vanishing Animals North section of the Zoo, the Maned Wolf's exhibit is near Zebras, Scout the {adorable!} red panda and the snow leopards exhibits. 

 Vanishing Animals North is located in the upper right hand corner of the Zoo map

Vanishing Animals North is located in the upper right hand corner of the Zoo map

I reached out to my friends at the Zoo to see if I could learn more about the beautiful animals in the exhibit I sponsor and meet their keeper. Thanks to the Zoo staff I was able to meet with Catherine Carroll about two weeks ago to learn more about Kev and Elisa the two maned wolves that call the Buffalo Zoo their home. To spare you a long, long post {because I could talk forever about animals} I summarized what I learned below...

 Photo courtesy of the Buffalo Zoo 

Photo courtesy of the Buffalo Zoo 

Kev is 11 and Elisa is 15, similar to a dog a unique feature guests may not know is the maned wolf has a unique bark/howl that is not 100% a bark, nor howl. Both animals have access to the outdoors at night as long as the temperature outside is over 30 degrees. They have enrichment every day that includes everything from toys, moving around exhibit pieces {such as logs and putting natural spices on them} and hiding toys in hay piles to name a few. They each get a "wolf smoothie" everyday to get the fruits and veggies they need for their diet and they are fed separately. The keepers track records of what they eat, how much they eat and do daily exams on both of them. Kev and Elisa enjoy to snuggle and you can often seem them cuddled together on top of the tall rock on the right hand side of the their exhibit. 

 Photo courtesy of the Buffalo Zoo

Photo courtesy of the Buffalo Zoo

Catherine is born and raised in Buffalo and has been a keeper at the Buffalo Zoo for over 25+ years. Let me tell you she is an amazing person! She always knew she wanted to be a keeper and has a love for all animals, saying they are like her"children." She is a lead keeper so not only does she care for the animals and clean the exhibit and prepare meals for them, she also is in charge of scheduling other keepers on her team, ordering supplies and much, much more. She works with other animal departments and other Zoo's to see what enrichment programs they do with their animals and to bounce ideas off of each other. 

 Photo courtesy of the Buffalo Zoo

Photo courtesy of the Buffalo Zoo

One thing many people may not know, is a lot of keepers do more than just take care of animals. In their spare time they may run fundraisers or programs that focus on other conservation efforts that play a very important role in not only our lives, but in the lives of the animals they care for each and every day. 

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Talking with Catherine only made me appreciate more of the work her and the rest of the keepers at the Buffalo Zoo and around the world do to care for animals. There is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes that we {the general public} may take for granted. The next time you're at the Buffalo Zoo make sure to pay a visit to the Vanishing Animals North section and appreciate all the beautiful animals you can see and learn about. 

Thank you Catherine {& team} for all that you do each and every day. 

-B

 

Experience Great Beer

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Back on April 2, 2014 I shared my first brewery interview with my followers. That brewery has become one of my favorite places in Buffalo and it is Resurgence. Fast forward to present day and I can now say that Jeff and his team have taken me under their wings to let me be apart of their team, "their family" and its quite special. 

I thought it would be fun to catch up with Jeff and see how life is going. So please read on! 

If you haven't heard by now, Resurgence is opening another location in the Old First Ward {specifically 55 Chicago St.} and offering up a lot more space, more beer, open air beer gardens, a banquet hall, a parking lot to accommodate up to 250 spaces and the list goes on. While the new location is prime for those in the OFW and downtown, the Niagara St. location will remain open and become more of an R&D location, providing an opportunity to experiment more. 

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When I spoke with Jeff I asked him what he enjoys most about owning his own business, specifically a beer business and he said he enjoys talking about beer, it was that simple. He enjoys talking about it with his customers, he enjoys flavor profiling and growing the business together with his employees. Its a fun place and to see his employees expand out into bigger roles is exciting to watch. 

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When I asked him what scares him and what he has learned, he said he's learned more about business over the last four years than he could ever imagine. From cash flow, to making beer, packaging, customer service, employee excellence, its all about learning something new everyday, its the best lesson for anyone. 

His favorite memory so far? The first anniversary party. To look back and recap the first year and next year when the Niagara St. location turns five, that will be another favorite memory and when the new location open, another. Its about thinking of more ideas and having them come to fruition. 

 Good friends, Jeff and Rob 

Good friends, Jeff and Rob 

One of the best parts of the industry? The opportunity to work with some cool partners like the one he has with the Buffalo Bisons. For both parties its an opportunity to work with cool people and collaborate on new ideas and do fun things. 

Another perk to being a brewery owner? Travelling to other breweries around the country and learning from other brewers and gaining more knowledge from one another.

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So after four years what is one thing Jeff enjoys the most? The creation process, the "recipe development." Experimentation is fun.

Why do you think people come back to Resurgence? Because of the variety, the beer, the area and because anyone is welcome. Resurgence is approachable. We take risks and at times may take some flack, but it brings openness to the brewery, the experience and the process. 

The final question I asked him was would he do it all over again and what did he say: Yes.  

This interview was important for me to share because Jeff was one of the very first people to open his doors to me and show me around, even when the Niagara St. location was still under construction. Hands down, Jeff is one of the best business owners I know in this area. Resurgence is a place where literally anyone can go and enjoy some beer {or wine}, have some laughs, sit out in the best beer garden in Buffalo {that's my opinion} and just relax. 

Thank you Jeff for letting me share your story 4 years ago and again for sharing it today. 

-B

Providing Inspiration Over Coffee and Conversation

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In one week I will be a part of an evening where people will be sharing stories of hope, love and inspiration. Things I think this world needs a lot more of nowadays. When I was asked to partake in this event, I was honored. Honored in the sense that one of the most important things to me, is inspiring people {whether I know them or not} to never give up and to know there is always someone there for them.

One of the best things I've gotten out of starting my own blog was getting to meet people within the local community who continue to inspire me each and every day. Next Thursday at 6:30 pm I'll be alongside my very good friend Kate from Hope Rises  who invited me to speak about Just a Blonde in Buffalo at the upcoming Daily Chatter event at Daily Planet Coffee Co. Inc. 

Not only will Kate and myself be sharing our stories, but you will get to meet a handful of amazing speakers who will be sharing their stories about hope and love. 

Come enjoy a delicious cup of coffee followed by some good conversation  on the 12th. 

-B

My Easter Traditions

 Dyngus Day 2017 

Dyngus Day 2017 

Easter is one of my favorite times of the year. I don't have any particular reason why, maybe its just because its during a time where we are entering a new season and the fresh air just feels good, who knows. Anyways, last year right around this time I was gearing up to head to Poland with my best friend. While this year I don't have that trip planned I thought I would share with you some of my favorite things to do over these next few days. 

 Polska flags are up on Paderewski Drive 

Polska flags are up on Paderewski Drive 

I've already been to the Broadway Market once this week, just to scope things out, grab my pussy willows for my floral arrangement and grab some Easter Polish eggs {something I seek out every year}. Tomorrow is Holy Thursday, when I was in grammar school I remember going to mass in the evening and at the end of it, MSGR. and the altar servers would clear the altar of everything. While I haven't been in a very, very long time, I'm thinking of checking out the One Night and Seven Churches Pilgrimage hosted by Broadway Fillmore Alive tomorrow. 

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Good  Friday is interesting, for the simple fact that my Dad, sister and kids and sometimes my brother head to the Broadway Market in the afternoon to get all the Polish food for Easter breakfast - polish sausage, pierogi, butter lamb, platzek, horseradish and some chocolate. We go at one of the busiest times, but that's what makes it fun!

Heading into Saturday for the last 5 years or so I have been taking the Easter basket to St. Stan's with my good friend Annette to get blessed. Its amazing how many people come to get their baskets blessed there, its actually encouraging to see. From there sometimes my niece will come over and help color eggs and we'll go to evening mass. There are some occasions where we will go to Easter Sunday mass, but the last few years its been Saturday evenings. 

Sunday morning the family will come over and we'll {actually I'll eat way to much pierogi} and the kids will search for Easter eggs in an Easter egg hunt that I make up each year. We'll go visit my Grandma and just relax. And then Monday we celebrate - DYNGUS DAY! If I go out {it really is weather dependent} I always go to the Broadway/Fillmore area - its historic Polonia and if you're going to celebrate it needs to be in the right neighborhood in my opinion. 

While there are other Polish traditions that other family's may celebrate that's just an insight into how my family and I celebrate this holiday. 

Whatever you do, I hope you enjoy!

-B 

Buffalo Distilling Company

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This week I'm kicking off a story on a couple pretty cool guys I met a few weeks ago. I had the chance to meet and chat with Andy and {Frank, in passing} two of the 3 owners of Buffalo Distilling Co. Andy gave me a run down on how it all began and a tour the facility that sits at 860 Seneca Street in the Larkinville area. 

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Buffalo Distilling is a NYS Farm Distillery and while they began production in their first facility  in Bennington, NY they chose to move into the city {Buffalo} where the action is and really where all 3 of them live. What people in Western New York may not know is that the guys at Buffalo Distilling make booze the old fashion way. They create their product to emulate this area, they use grain that is from this area along with product from Smith Orchard in Pendleton to name a few. 

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Their hot button item is their One Foot Cock Bourbon, but they also offer Brandy, Apple Pie Moonshine {which came out right before the Holiday season}, Vodka {which is the only vodka to this day that I can take a straight shot of and not make one of those ugly faces after}. And lastly they are having a Krupnik release party this coming Saturday, March 3rd beginning at 5pm. 

The Krupnik release and Polka party will feature not only tastings of their One Foot Cock Krupnik, but also feature a polish food menu and polka dance party, with Polka Band, Special Delivery performing. Best part {outside of the krupnik} there is no cover! 

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All the guys have a hand in each part of the business and they all take pride in what they do and have a passion for it. Its all about building personal relationships with people and being able to see what you make and how the consumer falls in love with it. 

-B

More fun wintertime activities

Guys, today on my feature for fun wintertime activities I'm talking about some places I have mentioned before, but all offer great activities to get you through this winter slump. 

 throwing it back to 2017 when me and my friends from work took a trip to the zoo 

throwing it back to 2017 when me and my friends from work took a trip to the zoo 

The first is the Buffalo Zoo. Continuing with embracing the winter in Western New York, head to the zoo during February for Polar Bear Days where admission is only $5 and parking is free. Enjoy the beautiful animals as they embrace the winter season. I love the Zoo year round, but if you hate going in the summer when its crowded this is the perfect time to go.

You can stop by exhibits {indoor and out} and see the animals up close without dealing with all the people. Make sure to check out the Maned Wolf, I heard there's a pretty cool blogger who sponsors that exhibit {lol}.

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Next up on my list is fishing, not ice fishing, but the real, fun fishing with Ryan from Brookdog Fishing Co. Check out his website to get more info, but trust me, its a once in a lifetime experience. You can also check out my past posts too {Nov. 2017, Fishing in the Lower River & July 2017, My newest adventure with Brookdoh Fishing Co.} 

 this photo was from my trip with Ryan back in November, you have such a good time that the cold weather becomes secondary. 

this photo was from my trip with Ryan back in November, you have such a good time that the cold weather becomes secondary. 

Lastly is the fun village of Ellicottville. Of course Holiday Valley offers tubing, skiing, snowboarding and much more, but the heart of village has a variety of different shops, coffee houses and pubs that make it a special place to visit and embrace the winter in the heart of "ski country."

 learn to snowboard at Holiday Valley 

learn to snowboard at Holiday Valley 

I could sit here and list a dozen more things to do from spending a day at the Aquarium in Niagara Falls, NY to learning about science at the Science Museum, or visiting your local library and finding some good books to read on those days school is cancelled or during Presidents Day week. Or go on a distillery or brewery tour, there are so many in town now, that you could make a day of it with your friends. Whatever you decide to do with the rest of this winter season, just embrace each day and all it offers because each day is about creating new memories with those you love. 

-B

 

A Hot Spot at 500 Seneca - Winkler & Samuels

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Wine 

Purveyors

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For those that know me, they know I love wine, like LOVE wine and for those that don't know me, you just learned something new about me. I think at some point in my life I may try to make my own wine, but for now I'll just continue to educate myself on all the different kinds that are out there. Which makes a great segue into my blog post for today, Winkler & Samuels a great, fairly new business in town. 

Located inside 500 Seneca {next to Tommyrotter Distillery} Melissa Winkler a certified sommelier  has a long family history with the neighborhood where Winkler & Samuels sits. Her family previously owned and operated F.X. Winkler and Sons, Buffalo’s oldest grocery store, which stood down the street from her business for 111 years.

The best way I can describe Winkler & Samuels is that it is a top notch wine store with a lot of offerings you don't get at other local stores in town. Not only does Melissa pick each wine out, but she sorts it by region - old vs. new. Its organized making it easy to find your favorite bottle or look for a new kind, it's clean, personal and offers wine you may not see at the typical wine store in your neighborhood.

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I personally love that it is so close to my work so I can stop there on my way home and I love that Melissa is there to offer suggestions or guidance based on what you like or what you're looking for. She's legit, she knows what she's talking about and won't steer you wrong. 

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What's even better? Their wine cellar, located downstairs from their retail store, it costs $25 a month and gives customers their own storage for up to two cases of wine in a climate controlled room. There is more to the membership to! As a member you receive 20% off wine services, free home delivery, 20 % off wine education classes and more. 

 Wine Cellar

Wine Cellar

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So what's one of the best parts of owning your own wine store? One of the best parts of the business is finding new wines and sharing the experience with customers. Carrying wines that are not carried everywhere else offers a unique opportunity for customers to come in and try varieties they may have never known about. 

 On tour of the private event area... Mackenzie smiling ...A man enjoying his wine sample

On tour of the private event area... Mackenzie smiling ...A man enjoying his wine sample

So why Buffalo? Because its a great place to live, its allowed Melissa to open her own wine store and the quality of life is great.

 Private event area 

Private event area 

 Another part of their private event area - under construction

Another part of their private event area - under construction

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What's in store for the future? Continuing to grow the wine cellar program, continuing education classes {they offer a lot, check out the event calendar here}. And if you're looking for a place to host an event, they have a great private event space, so follow along as Melissa continues to grow Winkler & Samuels 

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

-B

{A special thank you goes out to my friend  Mackenzie for organizing this interview for me and coming along on the venture xo}

 My purchases :) not all of these were for me, some were for a donation. 

My purchases :) not all of these were for me, some were for a donation. 

Embrace the Winter with Fun Classes from Skate Great, Inc.

 Learn to skate at Canalside with Skate Great! 

Learn to skate at Canalside with Skate Great! 

Continuing with the fun wintertime activities, last week I sat down with Jessica from Skate Great, Inc.  .  I have ice skated a couple times in my life, but I am not good and pretty much have to hang on to the side of the rink so I don't fall. In an effort to share more of my "adventures" with you, I got out on the ice last week at Canalside for a hot minute {if you follow me on Instagram you can check out my insta-story video for the next 24 hours to see how bad I am}. 

Over the next few weeks learning to skate with Skate Great is on my to-do list. Let's face it, if we have to deal with the winter, I want to embrace the fun activities that go along with it. 

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In the meantime learn more about Jess and Skate Great, Inc. below ---->

Celebrating 20 years in Western New York, Skate Great is the largest learn to skate program in the area. Offering a number of programs from learning to skate, hockey skills to baby blades and intro to dance, there is something for everyone. 

 Jess from Skate Great, Inc. 

Jess from Skate Great, Inc. 

Jessica took over ownership of Skate Great six years ago, after the former owner, Janice passed away. Jess started in competitive figure skating and continued to coach in College. Since she has taken over the business, it has grown. Offering programs year round at Holiday Twin Rinks and Leisure Rinks, Skate Great also offers seasonal programs at Canalside, East Aurora and Hamburg. 

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When I asked Jess what her favorite thing about owning a business is, she said she loves teaching beginners and loves seeing people who want to learn and want to skate, the emotions and hard work is special. It's not only personal for Jess, but for every coach that is on the Skate Great team. They are loyal and emotionally attached to the work they do.

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When I asked Jess what her favorite thing about Buffalo is, she said the people. Everybody knows someone, but you still get to meet new people. Buffalo's tough and you only find that in WNY. 

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So if yo're looking for something fun to do, Skate Great offers a number of different programs for all ages, check out their website {HERE} to learn more about their programs and pricing. If you have a question, Jess will always respond, so embrace the wintertime and enjoy some fun activities! 

-B

 

 

Women Who Move Buffalo - Kate from Hope Rises

  IGNITING HOPE THROUGH STORIES OF LOVE AND GOODWILL ACROSS THE GLOBE

IGNITING HOPE THROUGH STORIES OF LOVE AND GOODWILL ACROSS THE GLOBE

There are some people that walk into your life and if you're lucky they leave a permanent mark and if you're luckier you can call them your friend. Kate from Hope Rises is one of those people who I am lucky enough to call my friend. She has a huge heart and within the last few months has created Hope Rises, a blog idea that was created on a drive back home from a family trip from Florida. You see Kate was on her way back to Buffalo when the horrible Las Vegas shooting had occurred, feeling helpless she decided to make a difference by bringing positivity to the world by sharing stories of hope, heartfelt humor and happiness. 

Kate loves telling and sharing stories as she has a background in journalism. She tells the story not from her perspective, but from the perspective of her interviewee. As she began this exciting journey back in November she had a lot of help getting Hope Rises off the ground, not only from her loving family, but also from a good friend Nicole Cooke, who helped create the logo and brand.

Through Kate's story she met Annette Adamczak {to read about Annette's story click here} who is now a contributing writer for Hope Rises and a perfect example of faith and hope. The stories featured on Hope Rises are anything from animal rescue stories, military and child illness. They are stories from all over the Country and the World and Kate is looking for more submissions. If you have a feel good story, please feel free to share it with her. You can do that by submitting on her Facebook Page,  Hope Rises or by emailing her at hoperises@gmail.com

What does Kate want people to get out of all of this? She wants it to make an impact on people, even if its just one person. "To make a difference in someones life and to be able to give those who feel they don't have a voice the opportunity to let them share their story that is what its all about." Kate is happy to be able to highlight so many positive people. "You learn that there are a lot of heroes around every corner you turn."

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What I can tell you, is for me, Hope Rises is a site where I can go when I feel like the world is a complete mess, a place I can go when I feel completely defeated, stressed and just want to give up. Its through the positive, heartfelt stories that help me know that things are ok and they will be ok. It puts the important things in perspective.  

Kate, you are making a difference, you are touching many people's lives and you are helping this world. You are helping people know that things will be just fine and when they feel like they don't have a voice, they do. So continue to be that positive force that we need in this world, because we need more people like you, to create change, create hope and spread more love than hate. 

Thank you for letting me share your story and thank you for being that person who walked into my life, left a permanent mark, reminds me to be a better person each day and who I can be lucky enough to call my friend.

-B

Women Who Move Buffalo - Lindsay from Nickel City Pretty

Last week I met up with the wonderful gal, Lindsay from Nickel City Pretty. We met at her awesome studio {Black Box Studio} on Exchange St. and chatted about all of the exciting things she has accomplished and new ventures she is going to tackle in the future. It is one of my favorite interviews to date. Read more on Lindsay and all the fun things she does below.

What made you start Nickel City Pretty and the Buffalo Blogging Network?

Nickel City Pretty started about 5 years ago when I was looking for a hobby to help get me out of a funk. I always liked writing so as a new years resolution I began my venture into the blogging world. When I began I focused a lot on fashion, but over the years have branched out and now talk all about Buffalo and the great things taking place here. From there I began the Buffalo Blogging Network, a place where I could create a sense of community for other local bloggers to come and talk to others about the same interests. I host monthly meetings and networking events for bloggers to meet with one another, collaborate and just bounce ideas off each other. Since the inception there are now about 80 bloggers and vloggers in the network.

{part of her studio space}

On top of working a full time job, running a successful blog and blogging network, this past summer Lindsay opened up her own studio - Black Box Studio located at 567 Exchange St. so I asked her what made her want to open her own studio. 

Her response - I was itching for a bigger office, a place where I could come and put my full attention to my work. One thing I learned from Lindsay when we met is she loves old buildings and the architecture in and around Buffalo and with Larkinville being an up and coming area, when she found out the space was available her and her friend Heather {who is a photographer} jumped at the chance and did a complete reno. Having a studio space allows for me and Heather to bounce ideas off one another, to rent the space out to other people who are looking for a temporary spot to study, work, or hold a photo shoot to name a few things. My take away on the studio - it is super cozy, yet hip and I love everything about it! 

What is one thing you want people to take away from all of your initiatives and what do you enjoy most about each of them? 

Down the road I would love to see Black Box Studio grow and be a place for people to shoot videos, do more photography, host make up classes {Lindsay is a make up artist and still does classes, lessons and books for special occasions} and pop up shops and creative things. The studio is the missing piece to my puzzle. What I enjoy most about each thing I do - her blog - I love interacting with so many cool people, creating my "Nickel City Gritty" series and asking fun questions to get people to see those I features, real personalities. Just being able to work with Visit Buffalo Niagara {VBN} and local business owners and to go out and do all these cool things and be in the community is exciting. With the Blogging Network I love forming friendships, making people interact with one another and to see the collaborations created and the community that is forming is pretty awesome. Meeting Heather and having my own space and being inspired each time I walk into the studio is really exciting.

What do you love most about Buffalo? 

I love how friendly Buffalo is and how we help each other out. I love the old with the new, the architecture and old buildings and history with the new restaurants and technology. I also love how proud people are living here and of course the food. One thing I can say is Lindsay is apart of creating history here in Buffalo, her passion for her blog, the network and studio exude in everything she shares with the public. And I am so lucky to know her and am humbled to be apart of the network and learn from her. 

What is one thing people don't know about you? 

I was supposed to be on a Fisher Price box as a kid, but a few days before the photo shoot I fell and sliced my eyebrow open and needed stitches, needless to say because of that I didn't end up on the box.

Out of all of your initiatives is there one thing you enjoy more than another? 

I enjoy blogging, its my baby. And to be honest it is because of that, that it spawned me into these other ventures. It keeps growing, I enjoy being busy and working on new projects, like my Public Art Page.

What motivates you to keep going? 

The City - the vibrancy, my family and the people that I get to interact with everyday, Everyday life, that's what motivates me and keeps me going. Its all been fun and its a hobby and a job and my passion.

Lindsay is passionate about Buffalo, she gets inspiration from friends who own their own business and are living their passion. She loves local, small business and she screams Buffalo and just wants to show her love for the City in everything she does and I think she does a damn good job at it. The creativity out of Buffalo is amazing, but the dedication and love Lindsay has in everything she does is equally amazing and she inspires me and for that I am so grateful to know her. 

If you are or know of any business that would like to work with Lindsay or know of any person who she should feature on her Nickel City Gritty series contact her here.

{she is always working}

Fishing in the Lower River

Brisk air and cooler temperatures made way for a new fishing experience for me yesterday up in Lewiston.  When Ryan from Brookdog Fishing Co. asked if I wanted to get back out on the water, I jumped at the chance and said of course! Not only was it fun this past summer when I went on an excursion with him, but I have never fished in cooler temperatures and honestly didn't know it was a thing to do until recent.

{out on the water}

There is something about just being on the water that makes you put things in perspective and clears your mind. Right off the bat we caught some steelhead and lake trout. What was the most exciting part of the trip, outside of sharing stories with Ryan and ease dropping on other boats conversations, was the fight of reeling in the fish when we caught them. The second favorite was holding the fish, I don't know why, but even when the fish fell out of my hands and I screamed like a little girl, it was fun.

Overall, its just a great experience and something different to do in the fall and winter time. Again, Ryan goes above and beyond providing all the amenities for the trip, including coffee and a mini space heater to warm your hands from time to time. I can't say enough positive things about this company, it is truly one of a kind and I'm already looking forward to the next trip. Thanks Ryan!

-B 

{rise and shine, its fishing time}

{holding the biggest fish I've ever caught}

{it was quite the experience}

{and I enjoyed every second of it!}

 

Women Who Move Buffalo - Finishing Touches by Caitlin Krumm

{photo on Finishing Touches by Caitlin Krumm facebook page}

It was about a year and a half ago when I met Caitlin Krumm {now Mrs. Ring}, I met Caitlin through a mutual friend and helped organize her wedding, it was at that time that I was introduced to Caitlin's talent of art, but what I didn't know was that she has been an artist for a while. Back in 2007 she began creating pieces for fun, but always had a passion for it and in college took every art class she could.

She participated in the Elmwood Arts Festival for a number of years and built a customer base, she then began her Trendy Buffalo prints {I love them!} that started off as 4 originals and now she has up to 24. From there she participated in solo shows in pop up locations and created pieces for her clients. Fast forward to today and Caitlin is gearing up to open Finishing Touches by Caitlin Krumm, a pop up space inside the beautiful Ellicott Square Building that provides a purpose.

The concept is pretty simple, its to get art in the public eye, including her Trendy Buffalo prints, but also provide accessory basics such as scarfs, scented candles, wine tags and home decor items to complete your look for both your outfit and your home. And everything is $45 and under so you are getting a quality item for an affordable price.

When I asked Caitlin what her favorite piece of work is and why, she mentioned her Trendy Buffalo pieces. The reason why? They are fun to create. What I admire about Caitlin is her persistence and will to not give up. When she explained to me she will put in a full days work to create multiple pieces on top of working her full time job and still having personal time, it is quite impressive. Caitlin is genuinely a beautiful person inside and out, she has a huge heart and puts a ton of her passion into everything she does.

When I asked her my classic "What do you love about Buffalo?" question, her response -  I love Buffalo because of the people and the interaction and response I receive from my work. What she hopes people get out of her new venture at Finishing Touches is exposing people to her art by having it be part art gallery, part boutique, but also provide a convenience to those who are looking for unique pieces.

Store hours will be Wednesday's 11:30-7pm Thursday's and Friday's 11:30-3:30pm and available by appointment. There is a soft opening this coming Friday {11/17} from 4-7:30 pm.

To follow along, follow Caitlin's social media pages ---> Facebook Instagram

Thank you Caitlin for sharing your talent with WNY. xo

-B 

BuffBOXes

{one of my favorites}
Passion is defined as a strong and barely controllable emotion. Joy is defined as a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. When you combined these two feelings what you get is indescribable. Why am I bringing this up? Because just the other day I was lucky enough to meet with two Western New Yorkers who exude this with their new hobby. Heidie and Adam Buffomante recently started BuffBOXes which is a combination of unique items put together that create a beautiful, simple and functional style.
{Adam and Heidie - the masterminds behind BuffBOXes}
BuffBOXes launched a few weeks ago as a passion project. Heidie has always loved styling her home and pairing things together so her and Adam decided to team up and make this an experience that they enjoy together. They visit locally owned stores {I love that!!} for items as well as department stores {to keep costs down} making it a truly unique gift to give someone.
When I asked what some of their favorite local stores were they had a solid list - Modern Nostalgia, Scout & Cedar, Bkindcity, Mintberry, Molly & Kate, and Tattered Tulip. After adventuring out to stores for a day and building relationships with business owners, they come home and start the pairing process. One may think they would be exhausted after a full day out and about, but Heidie says she's eager to dive into the creative process!
When I asked the couple my classic question of what they love about Western New York they said the people. They shared how genuine, fun and committed the new people they have met are and the great pride they have in Buffalo. Heidie also mentioned you get to see how dynamic everyone is too, like the deep missions they have to build up our city.
There are two things that stood out for me when I spoke with Heidie and Adam, the first is how passionate and happy this project makes them. I have met a number of people through this blog and I can say Heidie is humbled that people put trust in her and Adam to create something special for them. The other thing that stood out is how much Adam loves Heidie and seeing her smile as she creates the BuffBOXes. When I asked what they love most about this, Adam said he enjoys seeing how happy it makes her.
BuffBOXes price points range anywhere from $20-$65 depending on the box. Each buffBOX is created with love and includes items that evoke joy and comfort. Follow them on Instagram to stay up to date @buffboxes and @buffalove_heidie to see the hustle. Also, know they do custom buffBOXes as well.
To Adam and Heidie - thank you for opening up your home to me and sharing your story, but more importantly thank you for sharing your passion and joy you have in each buffBOX that you create.
xo
-B

Perry's Ice Cream - New Ice Cream Flavor "Let's Dough Buffalo!"

Going to the Sabres game today? Celebrate with Perry's Ice Cream as they unveil their new ice cream flavor, Let's Dough Buffalo! Free samples will be given out on the 100 level of the arena. Let's Dough Buffalo! is a combination of cookie dough ice cream with cookie swirls and cookie dough pieces. Let me tell you it is DELICIOUS! That's not all, with every purchase of Let's Dough Buffalo! Perry's will donate a "Buffalo Nickel" to the Buffalo Sabres Foundation, supporting local community organizations.

You can purchase Let's Dough Buffalo! at the Keybank Center or any local Tops Friendly Markets, Wegmans, 7-11 or Dash's Market.

Kid tested and approved!

Women Who Move Buffalo - The Gals from Love in Motion Yoga

It's been a while since I've posted about my women who move Buffalo series, not because I haven't met some pretty cool people recently, but just because life has gotten in the way. Anyways...last year I was introduced to Kate and Kathleen from Love in Motion Yoga  they started teaching free yoga classes at the Outer Harbor on Wednesday's and Saturday's. Jump to today and what I'll say is you really never know how things will go when you meet new people, sometimes your relationship can be pretty minimal and other times it can grow into something wonderful and that's what I say happened with us. Since then, we've collaborated more, laughed more and they've taught me to just live my life.

{the studio}

On Saturday morning before their busy day full of classes they were kind enough to invite me into to their studio to share their story. Check it out below...

{during our interview - a candid shot of behind the scenes work at LIM}

BP:  How did you two meet?

K&K: Kathleen was in the training process to become a yoga instructor and attended Kate's first yoga class she was teaching in 2008 and the rest is history!

BP: What made you gals want to go into business together?

K&K: It's been 5- 6 years in the making, we've talked about going into business together and knew that was both of our end goals and visions.

BP: How did you both get into the yoga scene?

K&K: Kate: I'm a runner and wanted to stretch {I wish I recorded Kate's response, it is a lot better than just reading it here.} Kathleen: my sister suggested me taking it up after a phone conversation I had with her.

BP: What do you love most about owning your own business?

K&K: We can do whatever we want.  Any idea or vision we have, if we want to make it happen or just go out and do it, we can. The way we can show up in the community and be apart of something great, is a great feeling.

BP: What is your most memorable experience together?

K&K: {through the laughter} the  time we got pulled over at the Canadian border on our way to teaching a retreat. We had a full cooler full of raw food and they stopped us thinking we were smuggling things in.

BP: What do you love about Buffalo? If you had to chose one thing what would it be?

K&K: The community and the collaboration among small businesses. Collaboration is good for everyone and there is a bigger sense of working together here than if you were in another city.

BP: What is one thing you want people to take away from LIM?

K&K: The sense of coming like you are. Yoga can be fun and there are no expectations, no putting on an act. Its about getting connected and tapping into your body. Its about enjoying the practice, "it's chill."

{nothing but smiles at LIM}

One thing I can say is once you meet Kate and Kath your life will change for the better. They bring out the best in people, they do so much for others in the community and always treat everyone with respect and love. They want everyone to be able to practice so if you are financially in a pinch, give them a call and talk to them.

Like I mentioned above, these ladies do so much for the WNY community. Just this week alone they are doing a feel good series at the Buffalo Zoo to raise funds for animal enrichment and Pause in the Park at Roswell Park. And on Oct. 8th check out LIM looonnggg flow w/Kath.  For a complete list of upcoming events and workshops click here.

I'll leave you all with this.. "there are some people in life that make you laugh a little louder, smile a little bigger, and live just a little bit better." Kate and Kath do that for me and I can bet money they probably do that for others in this community as well. Thank you ladies for reminding us all to be the best version of ourselves each day.

-B 

{a little advice from the LIM instagram account}

 

 

My Morning With Seek Axiom and Bkindcity

This past weekend I got to send my Saturday morning with two friends who honestly bring out the best version of yourself. If you know me personally, you know I'm not a big fan of being in front of the camera- I prefer to be behind the scenes, but I wanted to do something different and just have some fun, so I asked Ryan from Seek Axiom to take some photos of me that I can use for my blog. Katie from Bkindcity joined us as well. Thank goodness she did because she fixed me up, provided some tunes for the day and told me what to do because I had no clue most of the time. We started the day at Tifft Nature Preserve. Ryan captured some really amazing photos and some fun candid ones too. Here are some of my favorites from this location.

We then headed up Fuhrmann Blvd. to Wilkeson Pointe {of course I had to get some shots at my work!} Here are a couple of my favorites from that location.

From the Outer Harbor we headed to "my roots" the east side of Buffalo. We visited the Broadway Market while they were having there BBQ & Brews event on the rooftop and we captured some of these shots below.

And then we ended at the corner of Fillmore and Broadway at the new Welcome mural that was created and completed a couple weeks ago.

One of the best things I got out of this day was not just pretty amazing photos, but it was the opportunity for me to be around new friends, to learn more about them and to just have fun and live life in every experience I get to have. Each experience we get to have shapes us into the person we are and right now in my life I want to seek more opportunities, so in the words of Seek Axiom "Seek everything you have yet to experience."

Thank you Ryan and Katie for a fun day full of laughs, I can't wait to do it again! - xo - 

-B